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Poetry is the language of nonexchangeability,
the return of infinite hermeneutics, and the
return of the sensuous body of language. I'm
talking about poetry here as an excess of language,
a hidden resource which enables us to shift from
one paradigm to another.

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I J QI Q l \;A

The Uprising
on Poetry and Finance






Franco "Bifo" Berardi


© 2012 by Franco "Bifo" Berardi

The Uprising

All rights reserved. No parr of this book may be reproduced,
srored in a retrieval system, or transmitted by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise,

On Poetry and Finance

without prior permission of the publisher.
Published by Semiorext(e)
2007 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 427, Los Angeles, CA 90057
Earlier versions of portions of this book were published in the
web-magazine e-jlux in spring 20 II.
Thanks to Roberr Dewhurst, John Eben, Marc Lowenthal and
Jason Smith.
Design: Hedi El Kholti
ISBN: 978-1-58435-112-2
Distributed by The M IT Press, Cambridge, Mass.
and London, England
Printed in the United Stares of America


109 8765432

series o 14


Int roduction


1. The European Coll apse


2. Languag e, Economy, and t he Body


3. The Genera l Intellect Is Looking fo r a Body


4. Poetry and Finance





These texts were written in 201 1, the first year of
the European uprising, when European society
entered into a deep crisis that seems to me much
more a crisis of social imagination than mere
economics. Economic dogma has taken hold of
the public discourse for three decades, and has
destroyed the critical power of political reason.
The collapse of the global economy has exposed
rhe dangers of econom ic dogmatism, b ur irs
ideology has already been incorporated into the
auromarisms of living society.
Political decision has been replaced by technolinguistic auromatisms embedded in the interconnected global machine, and social choices are
submitted to psychic automatisms embedded in
social discourse and in the social imaginary.
Bur the depth of the catastrophe represented by
rhe collapse is awakening hidden potencies of rhe
social brain. The financial collapse marks the
beginning of an insurrection whose first glimpses


-. -.,,...



as well.were seen in London. so now the political instinct of my generation (the '68 generation. just as fascism was followed by resistance and liberation. in the four August nights of rage in the English suburbs. The general intellect. and the reversal of financial dictatorship. In the sphere of the current bio-economic totalitarianism. the incorporation of techno-linguistic automatisms produced by semio-capital has produced a form that is not an external domination that acts on the body. and Rome in December 2010. O nly the conscious mobilization of the erotic body of the general intellect. cognitive labor: the general intellect in its present form of separation from the body. and to imagine the prospect of irreversibility. The Maastricht rules have become unquestionable dogmas. because it contradicts the principle of rational government of the flow of events-which is the necessary condition of rational government. Financial power is based on the exploitation of precarious. the last modern generation. so as to become able to abandon the conceptual framework of historical progress. algorithmic formulae and magical spells guarded by the high priests of the European Central Bank and promoted by stockbrokers and advisors. and which became massive in the May-June acampada in Spain. 8 I The Upns1ng: On Poetry and Finanr:ce Just as the Vienna Congress's restoration was followed by the People's Spring in 1848. will open the way to the emergence of a new form of social autonomy. Athens. Irreversibility It's difficult for someone of my generation to break free of the intellectual automatism of the dialectical happy ending. This is why historical dialectics no longer work at the level of understanding the process and the prospects: the prospect of irreversibility is replacing the prospect of subversion. only the poetic revitalization of language. "Irreversibility" is a taboo word in modern political discourse. but a mutation of the social organism itself. T his expectation may be deceptive. and in the wave of strikes and occupations in the US. and we should be able to enhance the space of our historical prefiguration. so we have ro rethink the concept of autonomy from this perspective. the return of social solidarity. The European collapse is not simply the effect of a crisis that is only economic and financialthis is a crisis of imagination about the future. and the primary contribution ln!loduction I 9 . is fragmented and dispossessed of self-perception and self-consciousness. in a sense) is expecting the restoration of democracy. in its present configuration.

Most citizens have stayed there. The financial collapse of September 2008 did not lead to a change in US economic politics. a conscious movement of self-organization. The megalopolis is directly exposed to the Fukushima fallout. the chaotic flow of events). What we are experiencing On Pcetr>• and Frnance denounced. is the following: feminine fortuna can no longer be subjected and domesticated by the masculine force of political reason. Despite the hopes raised by Barack Obama's victory. but they have not produced a change in the dominant paradigm. or a revolutionary upheaval. because BP was the only force which could manage the disruption and hopefully bring it under control.of humanism to the theory and the practice of modern politics. On the contrary. Compared to the noisy catastrophes of the earthquake and the tsunami. in the age of infinite acceleration of the infosphere. it has rather consolidated its power. breathing with face masks on their mouths as they have always done. but life is proceeding almost normally. Concerns about food safety have prompted US officials to halt the importation of certain foods from Japan. Machiavelli speaks of the Prince as a male force who is able to subdue fortuna (chance. The horizon of our time is marked by the Fukushima event. During the last few years disruptions have multiplied in the planetary landscape. the second nature we have to inhabit. after the Greek crisis in 2010. Therefore projects that propose to rationally change the whole social field are out of the picture. ln!roductron I 11 . Tokyo's silent apocalypse is more frightening and suggests a new framework of social expectation for daily life on the planet. The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has not led to the eviction of BP. the financial class did not relax its grip on the economy. because fortuna is embodied in the chaotic flows of the overcrowded infosphere and in the chaotic flows of financial microtrading. Only a few people have abandoned the city. the Greek disruption (and the following Irish and Italian and Spanish and Portuguese disruptions) has strengthened the rigor of monetarist policies and stressed the prospect of reducing salaries and social spending. neoliberal ideology-although clearly the source of the collapse-has not been dismissed. In Europe. Bur the Fukushima effect does not imply a disruption of social life: poison has become a normal feature of daily life. buying mineral water as they have always done. the female side of history. The disproportion between the arrival rate of new information and the limited time available for conscious processing generates hypercomplexity. A few cases of air and water contamination are 10 I The Uoris.

a system exhibits positive feedback when. In the social field. We can also speak of selfreinforcing feedback. In his work on cybernetics. as the conscious and rational will becomes unable to check and to adjust the trends. with the result that the changes are reduced and attenuated. Paolo Virno. change is taking the form of positive feedback. and Maurizio Lazzarato in an unusual direction. If the overall feedback of the system is negative. Autonomy. and described the subsumption and the subjugation of the biopolitical sphere of affection and language to financial capitalism. I am looking for a way to subvert this subjugation. Obviously. the trends themselves become self-reinforcing up to the point of final collapse. on the contrary. I am trying to develop the theoretical suggestions of Christian Marazzi. we can say that the system is exhibiting negative feedback if protests and fights oblige the industry to increase salaries and reduce exploitation when social misery becomes too hard and too widespread. tntrccluction I 13 . for instance. This is why it is difficult not to see the future of Europe as a dark blend of techno-financial authoritarianism and aggressive populist reaction. then the system will tend to be stable. it increases the magnitude of a perturbation in response to the perturbation itself. . will be essentially the ability to escape environments where the positive feedback is switched on. The result of the spread of ignorance and conformism will be a new electoral victory. unintended positive feedback may be far from being "positive" in the sense of desirable. My impression is this: in conditions of infoacceleration and hypercomplexity. These thinkers have conceptualized the relation between language and the economy.At a systemic level. their first preoccupation 12 I The On Poetry and F1nar. Look at the vicious circle: right-wing electoral victories and dictatorships of ignorance.ce is to impoverish public schooling and to prop up media conformism. and I try to d o that from the unusual perspectives of poetry and sensibility. How is it possible to do that. In Wiener's parlance. when we know that the planetary environment and global society are increasingly subjected to this catastrophic trend? How can we think of a process of subjectivation when precarity is jeopardizing social solidarity and when the social body is wired by technolinguistic automatisms which reduce its activity to a repetition of embedded patterns of behavior? With this book. When right-wing parties win. and so on. in this condition. Norbert Wiener speaks of negative feedback in order to define the output of a system when it acts to oppose changes to the input of the system.

Swarm When the social body is wired by techno-linguistic automatisms. In conditions of social hypercomplexity. we may say that in the digital age. In a letter to John Seabrook. If you don't react to certain stimuli in the programmed way. people will follow simplified pathways and will use complexity-reducing interfaces. Biologists call a swarm a multitude of animals of similar size and bodily orientation. This is why social behavior today seems to be trapped into regular and inescapable patterns of Introduction I 15 . power is all about making things easy. people tend to conform to shared behavior. A swarm is a plurality of living beings whose behavior follows (or seems to follow) rules embedded in their neural systems. A network is a plurality of organic and artificial beings. human beings tend to act as a swarm. and showing no common pattern of behavior. In a hypercomplex environment that cannot be properly understood and governed by the individual mind. moving together in the same direction and performing actions in a coordinated way. within the constraints of social interdependency. it acts as a swarm: a collective organism whose behavior is autom atically directed by connective interfaces. The crowd shuffling in the city moves in countless different directions with countless different morivations. because the network implies and predisposes pathways for the networker. In a broader sense. Bill Gates wrote: "the digital revolution is all about facilitationcrearing tools to make things easy" (Seabrook. Everybody moves following his or her will.cJ F1nance are not playing the game. and the intersection of those displacemen ts makes a crowd. people stop together at traffic lights. the concept of the multitude needs to be complemented with the concepts of the network and swarm. you 14 I The Upnsing: On Poetry ar. If you do not adapt to these procedures. if you don't follow the technical rules of the game. The behavior of persons in a network is not aleatory. When the infosphere is too dense and too fast for a conscious elaboration of information. you don't form part of the network. 52). If we want to understand something more about the present social subjectivity. A mulritude is a plurality of conscious and sensitive beings sharing no common intentionality. like bees building a hive or moving toward a plant where they can find resources for making honey. like the movements of a crowd. Sometimes the crowd moves in a coordinated way: people run together towards the station because the train is soon expected to leave. Everybody goes their own way. of humans and machines who perform common acrions thanks to procedures that make possible their interconnection and interoperation.

but this is not going to change the direction of the swarm. In this book. Automation of Language The implication of language in the financial economy is crucial in the contemporary process of subjectivation. Privatization of 16 I The Upns1ng: On Poetry and F1nanr:-e needs and affects has subjected social energies to the chain of capitalist culture. In a swarm it is not impossible to say "no. and incorporating common cognitive patterns in the behavior of social actors. The history of capitalist domination cannot be dissociated from the production and privatization of need. your rebellion and your nonalignment.all this capillaric machinery is framing the fi eld of the possible. So we may say that social life in the semiocapital sphere is becoming a swarm. insolvency is the line of escape from the reduction of language to exchange. the creation of cultural and psychic habits of dependence. and I start from the concept of insolvency. Misery is based on the cultural conformism of the nuclear family. so we find it frozen and abstract in the disempathetic life of a society that has become incapable of solidari ty and autonomy. The connective sign recombines automatically in the universal language machine: the digitalfinancial machine that codifies existential flows. You can express your refusal. on the secluded privacy of individual existence. Techno-linguistic procedures. Social insolvency means independence from the list of priorities that capitalist conformism has imposed on society. but it is also a rejection of the symbolic debt embodied in the cultural and psychic normalization of daily life.interaction. IntroduCtiOn I 17 . T he automation of the word takes place on two levels. nor is it going to affect the way in which the swarm's brain is elaborating information. The word is drawn into this process of automation.. From a linguistic and affective point of view. I am trying to think about the process of emancipating language and affects. social needs. The first level concerns monetarization and subjection to the financial cycle: signs fall under the domination of finance when the financial function (the accumulation of value through semiotic circulat ion) cancels the instinctual side of enunciation. so that what is enunciated m ay be compatible with digital-financial formats. Insolvency is not only a refusal to pay the costs of the economic crisis provoked by the financial class. financial obligations." It's irrelevant.i.e. T he production of meaning and of value takes the form of parthenogenesis: signs produce signs without any longer passing through the flesh. and psycho-media invasion.

In 1977 the American anthropologist Rose Khon Goldsen. Ever since Rimbaud called for a dereglement de to us les sens. and poetry predicted and prefigurated the separation of language from the affective sphere. especially of collective semiotic activity. the word becomes a recombinant function. dissolving the products of human activity. Two algorithms define the reduction of linguistic meaning to economic value via a Google search: the first finds the various occurrences of a word. The financialization of the capitalist economy implies a growing abstraction of work from its useful function. and thus became epiphanic. after internalizing linguistic potencies. poets have experimented with the forgetting of the referent and with the autonomous evocation of the signifier. In his paper titled "Quand les mots valent de !'or. The experience of French and Russian symbolism broke the referential-denotative link between the word and the world. The subsumption of language by the semiocapitalist cycle of production effectively freezes the affective potencies of language. Once deprived of its conjunctive ability. wrote the following words: "We are breeding a new generation of human beings who will learn more words from a machine than from their mothers." Frederic Kaplan speaks of the process of language's indexicalization in the framework of Internet search engines. This magic of postreferential language anticipated the general 18 I The Upris•ng: On Poetry and F:nance process of dereferentialization that occurred when the economy became a semio-economy. a discreet (versus continuous) and formalized (versus instinctual) operator. The history of this subsumption passes through the twentieth century. Words became polysemous evocations for other words. As symbolism experimented with the separation of the linguistic signifier from its denotational and referential function. has separated the monetary signifier from its function of denotation and reference to physical goods. Financial parthenogenesis sucks down and dries up every social and linguistic potency. but a connector of signifying functions rranscodified by the economy. A second level is indexicalization. creating money through money without the generative intervention of physical matter and muscular work. symbolist poets enhanced the connotational potency of language to the point of explosion and hyperinclusion. in The Show and Tell Machine. Financial signs have led to a parthenogenesis of value. The word is no longer a factor in the conjunction of talking affective bodies. and of communication from its bodily dimension. the second links words with monetary value." lntroouction I 19 . so financial capitalism.Monetary value produces more monetary value without being first realized through the material production of goods. At the same time.

This infinite slippage (or slide. and cannot be reduced to the operational function of language. Writing and Difference The voice and poetry are two strategies for reactivation.That generation is here. Algirdas Julien Greimas speaks of interpretation as an infinite slippage of the transition from signifier to signified. in this sense: it is the reemergence of the deictic function (from deixis. and therefore of reactivating social solidarity. 20 I The Upris'ng: On Poetry and FJnance Poetry is the voice of language. The voice is the bodily singularity of the signifying process. but it can be compassionate with the infinite ambiguity of meaning as sensuous understanding. starting from the reactivation of the desiring force of enunciation. and of the word. Once poetry foresaw the abandonment of referentialicy and the automation of language. and a process of reactivating sensuousness (singularity of enunciation. Prifoce aIa vie d'ecrivain Fonn fascinates when one no longer has the force to understand force from within itself -Jacques Derrida. of the body. Singularity cannot be compliant with a finite order of interpretation. notwithstanding the research in protocols and procedures for vocal recognition. Poetry and the Deautomation of Language We have too many things and not enough forms. it is cruel. self-indication) of enunciation. the voice is the point of conjunction between meaning and flesh. sensously giving birch to meaning. Desire is monstruous. Poetry is the here and now of the voice. the voice) in the sphere of social communication. We have co stare a process of deautomating the word. and noncompliance and nonrecombinabilicy are at the inmost nature of singularity. poetry is the excess of sensuousness exploding into the circuitry of social communication and opening again the dynamic of the infinite game of interpretation: desire. While the functionaliry of the operational word implies a reduction of the ace of enunciation co connective recombinabilicy. now poetry may scare the process of reactivating the emotional body. For Giorgio Agamben. in Language and Death. In the incrodution co the first volume of his seminal book Du Sens. or drift) is based on the intimate ambiguity of the emotional side of language {language as excess movement) . -Gustave Flauberc. Compassion IntroductiOn I 21 . The connective generation entering the social scene today fully suffers the pathogenic and disempathetic effects of the automation of the word.

Poetic language is the occupation of the space of communication by words which escape the order of exchangeability: the road of excess. Nevertheless. beyond the financial freeze. And wisdom is the space of singularity. Deixis (oei~t~) acts against the reduction of language to indexicalization and abstract individuation. accumulation no longer passes through the production of goods. Poetic language is the insolvency in the field of enunciation: it refuses the exaction of a semiotic debt. in the age of industrialization analyzed by Marx. says W illiam Blake. In h is words. in the sphere of semio-capital. and the voice acts against the recombinant desensualization of language. leads to the palace of wisdom. 22 1 Tne Upnsin::r On Postr. the industrial capitalist was obliged to produce useful things. the condition for an autonomous becoming-other. but goes 23 . This is no longer the case today. capitalism is the application of human skills as a means to obtain a more abstract goal: the accumulation of value. It is the culmination of a process of progressive abstraction that starred with capitalist industrialization. bodily signification. beyond the techno-lingu istic conformism that is making social life a desert of sensibility open to the perception of uncountable sensuous beings. the creation of sensuous meaning. In the world of financial capitalism. and F1nance THE EUROPEAN COLL APSE THE FINANCIAL BLACK HOLE AND THE VAN ISHING WORLD Finance is the most abstract level of economic symbolization. In order to produce abstract value. Marx speaks of abstract labor in the sense of an increased distancing of human activity from its con crete usefuln ess. the production of useful goods was still a necessary step in the process of valorization itself.

That's exactly what it is: the debt circulates on its own orbit. ] When one looks at the billboard on Broadway. The final counts will never take place. extracting value from the pure circulation of money. [ . The speed of liberation of the debt is just like one of earth's satellites. while the financial class is expropriating the outcome of the general labor force and of the general intellect. it might rejoin ours. [ . Nothing is created from this destruction. marked by the political hegemony of neoliberal dogma. transforming things into symbols.000 a second.. from now on. ex-centric. Jean Baudrillard likened the ever growing US national debt to a missile orbiting above the earthly atmosphere.. the probability that he considered very faint has become true. An electronic billboard in Times Square displays the American public debt. Debt has come back down to Earth. \ The concrete wealth of Europeans is vanishing into a black hole of pure financial destruction. one has the impression that the debt takes off to reach the stratosphere. (Baudrillard 1996) !In the last few years. Life. breathing. from the virrualization of life and intelligence. with its own trajectory made up of capital.straight to its monetary goal. contrary to Baudrillard's prediction.humanity is going to be sacrificed in order to pay the metaphysical debt. finance has turned into a social virus that is spreading everywhere. ex-centered. value and utility). the invisible hand has been The European Collapse I 25 . an astronomic figure of some thousands of billions of dollars which increases at a rate of $20. This is simply the figure in light years of a galaxy that vanishes in the cosmos. [. the debt will never be paid. The symbolic spiral of financialization is sucking down and swallowing up the world of physical things. There will be no judgment day for 24 I TI1e Uprising: On Poeir)' and Fina11ce this virtual bankruptcy. ' Financialization and the virtualization of human communication are obviously intertwined: thanks to the digitalization of exchanges. of concrete skills and knowledge. with its flying figures. is free of any economic contingency and moves about in a parallel universe (the acceleration of capital has exonerated money of its involvements with the everyday universe of production.. . intelligence.. and it is now acting as a condition for the final predatory abstraction: life turned into time for repaying a metaphysical debt. It is not even an orbital universe: it is rather ex-orbital. ] The United States is already virtually unable to pay. one day. No debt will ever be paid.] In fact. but this will have no consequence whatsoever. with only a very faint probability that. which. 1 In the last decades of the century that trusted in the future. joy..

The essential processes of social communication and production have escaped the capacities of human knowledge and control. simultaneously. the relation between the sign and the thing has blurred. Tt1e European Collapse I 27 . pollution. from the neoliberal deregulation to the monetarist abstract reregulation. and bankers are usually too busy. but this is not my point. 26 I Tne Upris'ng: On Poetry anci Finance 1 want to understand the process of dissolution that is underway from the unusual point of view of the relationship between poetry and finance. 5. and finance wuh poetry? Nothing. and its mission is drying up the world. Simultaneously. Poets are too poor to invest money in the stock market. My point here concerns the deterritori~izatio~ effect which has separated words from thetr semiotic referents and money from economic goods. The financialization of the economy is essen~ tially to be seen as a process of the subsumption of the processes of communication and production by the linguistic machine. stockholders. Let's consider the effect of dereferentialization which is the main thread of twentieth century poetic research (beginning with the symbolist dereglement des sens et des mots). Because of the technological revolution produced by information technology.embedded in the global technology of the linguistic machine. Eliot. Investors. but we should consider the eventuality that capitalism has so deeply pervaded every physical and imaginary dimension of the world that its collapse may lead to the end of civilization itself. There are exceptions. has been turned into a wired. Ziiek may be right. the relation between time and value has been deregulated. as the ontological guarantee of meaning based on the referential status of the signifier has broken apart. language has been captured by the digital-financial machine. and impoverishment are marking the horizon of our time. The economy has been invaded by immaterial semiotic flows and transformed into a process of linguistic exchange. ~at has poetry to do with finance. Irreversible trends of devastation. of course. Slavoj Ziiek reminds us that no end of the world is in sight. the essential environment of mankind. so they don't waste their time with poetry. like T. and language. only the possible end of capitalism that we are unable to imagine. who was employed at the Lloyds Bank while writing The Waste Land. automated system. and transformed into a recombination of connective operational segments. and we'll ~nd some similarities with the economic reconfiguranon that occurred during the last three decades of the century. The techno-linguistic machine that is the financial web is acting as a living organism.

the symbolist poets also said: "I do not want to show the thing. In symbolist poetry meaning does not come fro m the rep resentation of preexisting reality and from a correspondence with the referent. f 28 I Tt1e Upns1ng: On Poetry and F1nance The technical subjection of choices to the logic of concatenation . IPure functionality without meaning. but it aims to liberate social activity from any regulation except the regulation of money. Automation of thought and will. but powerful. . The similarity between poetical and financial deregulation is misleading.imbaud. I s~y . rather than reflect or reproduce existing reality. of denotation. In neoliberal parlance. Mathematical Ferocity and Symbolic Insolvency Like the impressionist painters. While liberating it from the bonds of political government. I want to show the impression. which is the most ferocious. Neoliberal ideology starts from the same emphasis on deregulation and the cult of freedom. IT he recombi nation of companble (companbllized) fragments (fractals). and the rose is there." The symbolists invite the reader to forget about the referent. but TI1e European Co~ lacse I 29 . Words and senses wanted to escape the frame of representation. and from the rule of competition. and later recycled as a metaphor by neoliberal ideologues. an apparition from nothing. Here is my point. but simultaneo usly subm1ss1on to SCIO US techno-linguistic auto matisms. Dbi!glement des sens et des mots is the spiritual skyline of late modern poetry. deregulation means liberation fro m the constraints generate~ ~y con. not because 1t IS a represented referent. The symbolist word is intended to act as an epiphany. Governance is a keyword in the process of the financialization of the world. w"111 . but to evoke a world from the imagination. The symbolist word is not intended to represent the thing. and of naturalistic reproduction. of course. but because it is the effect ~f an act of my voice."Deregulation" is a word that was first proposed by the poet Arthur R. So the word and the senses started to invent a new world of their own. . Neoliberal ideology does not intend deregulati-o n as the free flight of social molecules out of any kind of rule. It is the effect of a pragmanc displacement of expectations. 1 1 T he inscription of a digital rhythm into the 1 social body. The embedding of abstract connections in the relation between living organisms. . financial capitalism is subjecting social behavior to techno-linguistic governance.the rose.

th language in the twentieth century. money U:zlf create the world-this is the arrogant declaration. and that Its value would henceforth be decided by an act of language.~hard Nixon did something that can ?72. which is leading the contemporary world towards barbarianism and social devastation. . Goldman Sachs consultants. and rhythm. metaphysiCal necessity. and instead begins to evoke the world from the circulation of money. the mathematization of language.e As the economy ceases to deal with the production of things. The transformation of debt into an absolute necessity is an effect of the religion of neoliberalism. a promise. then that means that society is incompetent. which founded neoliberal monetarism. based on th: emancipation of the financial dynamic from any conventional standard and from any economic reality. Nixon's decision was the starting point of th financialization of the economy. not by correspondence to a standard or to an economic referent.from the evocative force of sound. the hypertrophic rowth of the debt becomes inevitable. g Neoliberal ideology pretends to be a liberating force that emancipates capital from state regu~a­ tion. be considered dereferentialization" in the realm of monetary economy. T~e dereferentialization of language-the emanCipation of the linguistic sign from the referentthat was the operation of symbolism. but it in fact submits production and social life to the most ferocious regulation. The premise of neoliberal dogmatism is the reduction of social life to the mathematical implications of financial algorithms. Forget about the referent. 30 1 The Upns ng: On Pee try and F1nan:. actually? Is it an inescapable. has somethmg to do with a transformation in the relation between the economy and monetary exchange that occured in the last part of the century. In 1 Ri. We may assert that neoliberal dictatorship ~egan when the Chicago Boys decreed that money mvented reality. of the omnipotence of economJ·c power. ~at IS d~bt. Systematic impoverishment is imposed o~ social life by the logic of debt repayment. What is good for finance must be good for society. and if society does not accept this identification and submission. Debt is an act of language. and voice. when monetary evaluation fored~sed the referent. and that was t~e hallmark of poetic and artistic experimentation WJ. Breaking the Bretton Woods agreements. No. and needs to be redressed by some technical authority. or bankers-like Lucas Papademous of Greece and Mario Monti of Italy-are imposed by financial power as unquestionable leaders of those countries which lag behind the necessary submission to the technical The European Col!apse / 3 1 . the American president said that the ~oJlar would have no reference to reality.

. and mathematics is not the law of reality. but a language whose consistency has nothing to do with the multilayered consistency of life. and chis ferocious mathematization of the living body of society is preparing the worst evolution of Europe. a bank. .authority of statistics. I'llocutionary acts (performative utterances). It should be ludicrous to say that Goldman Sachs consultants. but they The European Collapse I 33 . They preten d to Predict something about the futureh of chat enterprise. bank. or country. algorithms. Markets expelled the democratically elected Greek president. or believe that social life must be submitted to the unquestionable rationale of the markets. Actually. t ey falsely rath e r Utter a self-fulfilling prophecy. destroy resources. and swallow the energies of the collective body like a draining pump. and to pay the infinite debt that we owe to the banks. which don't want to conceive of the general interest in mathematics. t've enunciations of these agenCies are m pre d IC I . What is the whimsical. or a nation pretend to act as indicators of the real situation 32 I TI1e Up:ising: On Poetry and F1nance of that enterprise. that bank. rea1ny . and figures. . They are wrong. Financial enunciations pretend to abide by the rules of indexicality. 'al mmunications that have been submitted to SOCI CO the techno-linguistic implications of the economy. Mathematics becomes ferocious when it is forcibly inscribed into the living organism of society. The rating agencies which downgrade or upgrade an enterprise. or the chancellor of Germany. as reality is not mathematical. are Nazis. They don't look like sadistic murderers. or that country. Mathematics is not in itself ferocious. The . supercilious entity which is often nervously referred to as "the markets"? Markets are the visible manifestation of the inmost mathematical interfunctionality of algorithms embedded in the techno-linguistic machine: they utter sentences that change the destiny of the living body of society. democracy is cancelled-as happened in Greece when the democratically elected President Papandreou dared to call for a referendum on the austerity measures imposed by the European banking system. or the European Central Bank director. and replaced him overnight with a Goldman Sachs consultant. When democratic rituals endanger the execution of the austerity plans which are destined to restore the mathematical perfection of social life. Contemporary science and epistemology are totally at O dds with the reductionist methodology of the financial economy. The faith in the financial balance wh1ch IS imposed on the European pop~lation is based on a philosophical misunderstandmg: th~ promoters of financial stability chink chat the social body and mathematics belong to the same sphere. .

as more and more people are turning toward racist sentiments. a dyscopic prophecy.pur it 111 h1s seminal Symbolic Exchange and Death 111 1976.r. and preparing a hot form of massive fascist reaction. smooth. cold violence of dererritorialized financial dictatorship is preparing the violent reterritorializarion of the reactive body of European society: nation. The Dystopic Prophecy of Poetry The arallel histories of poetry and finance may be starring from rhe concept of the aliry of floating values. as poetry is language's excess: an insolvent enunciation in rhe face of rhe symbolic debt. dis~orrions and perversions of the huge deternconal1zanon that would come with capitalist globalization. In this way they are simultaneously establishing a cold form of totalitarianism. which is already underway in many countries of Europe. and religious fundamentalism are reappearing on the scene. The subjection of social communication to the financial 34 I The Upns. The financial religion is transferring the consistency of the algorithmic chain into the social reality of the collective body. Things faLL apttrt. the centre cannot hold. The algorithmic chain has an intrinsic causality. . up to the expenences of the bear generation and fluxus. perfect. we can argue that the disentanglement of social life from the ferocious domination of mathematical exactitude is a poetic task.g: On Pceiry and Finance algorithmic chain can be described as the imposition of a symbolic debt." as Baudrillard . It is provoking the birth of a new form of fascism. From this perspective. fr has mostly been a frantic anticipation. which is the consistent causality of a language created by the human mind in a sphere of selfvalidating (tautological) abstraction. ethnic cleansing. Imposing mathematical causality on rhe uncertainty of the bodily and social processes of becoming-other is the most dangerous of mistakes. and a wave of depression. Think of "The Second Coming" by William Butler Years: rerra~ed "hy~err~­ Turning and tuming in the widening gy're The falcon cannot hear the falconer.want to peacefully submit the European population to mathematical slavery. poets have anticipated and predicted the trajectory of the Jobal economy and of the ordinary business of life. From symbolism to futurism. Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world. as poets forebode the c~mi~g. This is the philosophical misunderstanding which corresponds to the economic interests of the posrbourgeois class of financial predators. . and suicide is sweeping the continent. race. The abstract. which is clean. despair.

detached from their meaning. and against the financial abstraction Me~iterranean which is devastating social life. At the beginning of the second decade of rhe new century. Abstraction has detached the epidermis of language from the flesh of the linguistic body. They are simultaneously the first connected generation. psychic fragility. depleted of necessary resources for their education. obliged to accept exploitation and low wages. the first generation of Internet natives. poetry is going to play a new game: the game of reactivating the social body. W~ar revelation can we read in Years's poem. Wntten in I 9 I 9? The center cannot hold. abstraction of goods from usefulness. promised a future of the endless repetition of a meaningless act of sacrifice on the altar of debt.· Surely the Second Coming is at hand. and love. as deregulated predatory capitalism is destroying the future of the planer and of social life. Therefore the current precarious insurrection questions the rhythmic disturbance provoked by semio-capital. THE POWER OF IMAGINATION AND THE EUROPEAN COLLAPSE In the crucial year 1933. while the worst Are fit!! ofpassionate intensity. young people are revolting agamsr the brutal exploitation of their rime and intelligence. Then. and things have fallen apart. they are also looking for a new meanmg of thmgs. The global deterritorialization of financial capitalism has spread precariousness.· The best lnck all conviction. . and tries to o~erc~me our existing inability to tune into a shared vibration. The revelation of the century is the devastating spiral of abstraction and nihilism: abstraction of work from activity. abstraction of time from sensuousness. . They are the precarious generation. Julien Benda wrote the following words. he says: Surely some revelation is at hand. and desolidarization. and eve1ywhere The ceremony ofimzocence is drowned. 36 I The Uprising: On Poetry ancl F1nance The European Collapse / 37 . In the streets of Europe and in the whole basin. They are not only protesting against the gruesome effects of ne~liberal ~ule. activity.The blood-dimmed tide is loosed. in his book Discours a Ia nation europeenne (Address to the European nation): Europe will not be the fruit of an economic transformation: it will exist only when it will adopt a certain system of moral and aesthetic values.

of devastanng. at the beginning of the twentieth century. because what is remarkable in his text is his being conscious of the fact that Europe is not an existing entity. and imagination. but I think we should start from this consideration. bur the war between romanticism and Enlightenment. we are obliged to go beyond the dogmanc reassertion of neoliberalism. be they leftist or rightist. because they don't have a future. the destruction of the university.. the project of Europe became a project of overcoming the opposition between East and West. going beyond a cultural and philosophical war. not only the war between France and Germany. You know the situation of our most recent generation of students. What is Europe now? If we listen to the speeches of Angela Merkel. of societies· to the slashmg of salanes. for instance. Europe has been the project of going beyond war. Not having a future: this is already a kind of refrain. if you will. to the sad project of destroying. Europe is a dogmatic project of reassuming and reinforcing neoliberal ideology. but are in the end useless as far as their future is concerned. and to those of all the other European politicians. what Europe may be. Or. Let us look at the landscape of philosophical and political thought in Europe today. . in the wake of the The European Collapse I 39 .a future. it makes no difference . What has Europe been over the past century? First of all. days: the destruction of collective intelligence. the s~­ called European high culture. This is the central project of Europe nowa. and the subjugauon the narrow interests of profit and 0 f researc h to economic competition. what Europe cannot be. of a neoliberal 38 I Ti1e Upnsing: On Pcetry and Finance · that leads to the impoverishment regu Ianon . the European project was essentially a project of the will. The landscape IS rather gloomy.I want to start from these words of Benda's because I want to talk about Europeaness: what Europe is. spirit. . and so on-a project that existed in the imagination of Europeans. from this obvious knowledge-the idea of a nonexistent future-as a condition of thought: if we start by dismantling the very possibility of . between democracy and existing socialism. to · European the postponement of retirement. I remember what the philosophical discussion was in the 1960s and '70s. I start from Julien Benda and from this well-known speech on the European nation. for instance: we are teaching things that may be good or bad. if you want to say it in a more pros~Ic w_ay. of dismantling the general intellect. Then in the 1970s and '80s. So. . and ftn~lly. bur something that has to be created by the imagination. What now? This is the question I'm trying to answer.

was first proposed and deconstructed by L~hman n i_n the I 970 s and '80s. 40 I TI1e Upris. who describe~ a future without alternatives. self-proclaimed deregulation. Then I look at the landscape of German philosophy in the I 970s and '80s: I consider the debate between ]i. but it was also much more: it offered a cartography of the coming future of the neoliberal. cror mstan · ce · This ' too ' was an important anticipa. which was probably the most enlightening.Critical Theory that made possible the creation of the European entity in the sphere of dialectical thought. These are the most important books of the I 970s and '80s. and Jean-Franc. In governance On Poetry and Finance Tr. deceptive ill usion of communication based m h t e d h al" · democraCy· And ' on the other si e. benevolent 1dea o on the one h H abermasian dialogic society. The Birth ofBiopolitics. the autom ation of social existence. beyond the political manipulations of the ruling class over the last few decades? As far as I can understand. This. without poSSible · s . we can understand that governance is the automation of thought.e Eu. . And I also think of books like Anti-Oedipus and A Thousand Plateaus. a dominance of the unavoidable. s1. . of Foucault's wonderful book. economic dogma is transformed into techno-linguistic automatism. What is the meanmg of this word. I think. and you can read them all as cautionary imaginations of the coming neoliberal revolution. t e re 1snc consideration of Luhmann. Governance is information without meaning.irgen Habermas and Niklas Luhmann. The work of these French philosophers of the I970s and '80s has formulated a cartography of the coming dystopia: a way of thinking about the coming future as a dark age of violence and impoverishment. in a sense. Their thought was an attempt to imagine a possible future. and Baudrillard's Symbolic Exchange and Death. in the age of Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari. Governance. Michel Foucault.d e: t h e predicted benefits o commumcatton. fwhat Europe was going to become. this word which has totally invaded the field of political nonrhought. Jacques Derrida.:ois Lyotard. I remember what French thought was in the I 970s and in the '80s.opean Co'taose 1 41 . was a highutopia I profile discussion. wh ich was focusmg the rea ' problematic horizon of the Euro_pean future. imaginative forewarning of what was going to happen in the landscape of the world. a future of governance. the fact that governance is a wo rd which is much used and never defined today is a symptom of the total poverty of the political practice of our time. t e f . for instance. non o · f The good and. If we begin fro m the Luhmannian perspective.

They are thinking. no less than the sphere of politics. Paris today is a ci~ wh~re t~ought has been transformed into journ alism. think of what has become of the inrellecrual landscape of Paris: a monument to sadness a m onument to cynicism. bur from art. but now? Now. impovenshment. twen ty-four to cwenry-five percent of young German people interviewed by journalists answered the question "what do you want to do when you're an adult" by stating that they wanted to be artists. A light of possible intelligence and openness seems to come nor from philosophy. exactly? Are they thinking about the rich possibilities that the art market offers? Well. I don't want to expect anything from the future. Yet it seems that in a recent poll. N icolas Sarkozy. Yo u aren't either-nobody is exactly. if they with draw their faith. maybe. not so precarious. well. ~nd that Tony Blair.m ed . have paved t~e way to dogmatis~. ~~ose thinkers were able to imagine and to cnticize. racism. precariousness and sadness can become som ething different. violence. I think that they are saying that they want to be artists because they feel that being an artist means to escape a future of sadness. H e was speaking abour no future. . the coming no future. once called les nouveaux The European Col!apse I 43 . Look at the sadness of French cynical thought. we can understand what is happening today in the present European nightmare. Jose M an a Aznar. cynicism has invaded the sphere of thought. Starting from this sense of no future that the po~itical thought of the 1970s and '80s had proclaimed and m apped in advance. In this sense Luhman n was ki nd of like a Philip K. philosophes. something not so sad. to th~ 111finite war that George W Bush has proclai. but I don't think so. he was like the Johnny Ro tten of political imagi nation. Into the continuo us repetition of this ki nd of illusion of European arrogance w hich has ~aved the way to the fi nancial collapse. Dick of political thought. so I start my fut ure as an artist. W hat are they picturing? What do they thi nk being an artist means. which is the here and now. if they withdraw from any expectations a capitalist future can offer. and financial dictatorship. to escape a future of precariousness as sadness. I am not actually sure of what I am talking about when I say the word art.T his is governance at its very end. and Silvio Berl usconi have supported. T he cynical nonthin kers who inhabit the Parisian scene of today.

an elderly . mon. you will increase employment. le . right . Iogically a new job will be available kfor . in his contract.a reures. The state should thus progressively increase taxation on the rich in order to further invest resources and create jobs. underpaid labor. all this J'ob will not be available for a younger ogic y f h dd' · al worker throughout the entirety o t e a . and more often than not irrelevant.PURGATORY "The German worker does not want to pay the Greek fisherman's bills. Over thirty years of rampant privatization has amply demonstrated that the private sector inherently facilitates drastic reductions in quality. instead of paying a pension to the elderly and a salary to young workers. The conceptual foundation of Reaganomics. The result being that capitalists. is nothing more than abstract rubbish which has been transformed into a legislative commandment wielded by both the left and right wings for the last thirty years. SIX. favors this mysterious and contradictory wmgs. If an elderly worker . In their relentless efforts to transfer money and resources from society to the financial classes." Here are a few such conceptual manipulations which are helping neoliberalism destroy European society: First manipulation: By lowering taxes on the rich. A simple syllogism. I . neoliberal ideologues have never hesitated to use manipulation and deception: their half-truths and fictions are transformed by the global media into "common knowledge. Yet economiC policy over the last thirty years. wor er IS c d to work an additional five. Second manipulation: Postponmg the rettrement age increases youth employment. both on the left and. the so-called Laffer curve (progressive lowering of taxes on the affluent). Third manipulation: Privatization and market competition are the best guarantees of quality for schools and public services. An absurd assessment.n. Any influence of state taxation on investment plans is at best inconsequential." The fanatics of economic fundamentalism are pitting workers against workers and leading Europe to the brink of civil war. Why should this be the case? Such logic is beyond comprehension. . This is because the private sector is primarily 44 I The Upnsing: On Poetry and Finance T11e European Collapse I 45 . .·n which elderly workers must be forced pnnCip to work longer in order to increase employment opportunities for the young. . or seven years beyO nd what was stipulated .gle salary to averaged workers while blackm:ulmg unemployed youths into accepting any form whatsoever of precarious. roKe . . younger Worker· If' however. pay a si. On the contrary: the owners of capital invest only so long as their profits are perceived to be guaranteed. duration.

and redistributing wealth. which prevent it from easily printing money. and at the same time has rendered the entire societal system vulnerable and fragile. We must be paid less in order to become more competitive. poverty. to oppose inflation at any cost. Owners of capital. exposing it to repeated collapse as witnessed in the frequent economic bubble "boom and crash" cycles. misery. not promoting the public good. Inflation may indeed be dangerous for a society." but it's The European Collapse I 4 7 . And when reduction in quality leads to outright malfunction. prefer provoking recession and widespread social misery. The measures that the financial class are forcing on European countries are the exact opposite of"solutions": they can only multiply the scale and effects of the disaster. western workers' salaries have been severely reduced along with the capitalist's production costs. and violence. rather than abdicating the restrictive rules of the Maastricht Treaty. Debt has been favored in any and all forms in order to entice people to purchase otherwise unsellable merchandise and goods.interested in increasing profits. The true danger for social life is deflation. Fifth manipulation: Inflation is our preeminent danger. when it was cancelled under yet another glorious neoliberal "reform"). as if inflation itself were the cause of Nazism. barbarianism. The European bank prefers creating recession. Everything is crumbling-it's crystal clear. and not the manner in which inflation was managed by German and international capitalists of the time. the ghost of Germany's inflation cycle of the 1920s {justly feared by the Germans) is invoked. The preceding decades have witnessed a drastic cut in actual wages. Fourth manipulation: Workers are paid too mud~ we have been living above and beyond our means. In order to manufacture an artificial fear of inflation. but balancing mechanisms may be put into place (such as the sliding-scale mechanism used in Italy until 1984. the resulting losses for prerequisite services are socialized while profits remain private. It's called a financial "rescue. while profits have skyrocketed. All of this has induced a cultural and political process of pushing forms of social agency into a condition of dependency (debt is an agent within the unconscious enabling guilt and a consequent drive for atonement). giving society space to breathe. which leads to recession and the reduction of the social machine's productive potential. 46 I The Uprising: On Poetry and Finance What is inflation? Inflation is either a reduction in the value of money. as often happens. rather than seeing the value of their money diminish. or an increase in the price of commodities. unemployment. In successfully leveraging the threat of job transfer to newly industrialized countries where the cost of work hovers at near-slavery levels and conditions. and the Central European Bank has only one goal.

and their criminal media empires. yet it will not be a lighthearted underraking. nor will it be a linear process of social emancipation. thereby inducing an immediate recession. and London on December 14. which will often be marked by racism and self-defeating violence. as already witnessed in the dust of the English revolt and the outbursts of violence in Birmingham. There will be little cheer in the coming insurrection. Its only effect will be a massive transfer of resources and wealth from these countries to the ruling financial class. destroy public schools. and hatred toward Europe. which will function as a chaotic reactivation of the energies of the body of the socius. No one will be able to stop or guide the insurrection. it will lead to deflation. and lobotomized. Insurrection will expand and proliferate in the upcoming months. uncontrolled and rampant competition. privatized its public structures. Revolt is winding its way through European cities. On the contrary. and Italy. misery. rendered fragile and fragmented by thirty years of perpetual precarization. Austerity will not reduce deficits. And now the Greek "rescue" is being applied to Portugal. Athens. This is the unfortunate effect of the ·long process of desolidarization which neoliberalism and the criminal political left have subjected society to for decades through their incessant proliferation and fragmentation of work. Resistance movements must be prepared. but rather to create (coextensively with TI•e European Coii3JCSe I 49 . and 48 I Tl~e Up'iS•n. with no signs of recovery. Ireland. The task of resistance movements will not be to provoke. Silvio Berlusconi.?: On Pootr. cut spending on social infrastructure. In the upcoming years we can expect the diffusion of widespread ethnic civil war.• and Frnan-::e the four nights of rage in the suburbs of England. and later in the acampada protests of May and June in Spain. designed to slash salaries (thereby reducing future demand). Society has been broken up. fragmented. which has for too long been flattened. as well as the reduction of production and wealth. The way events have unfolded in Greece perfectly demonstrates these facts: the European financial rescue has destroyed its productive capacity. Greece's Gross Domestic Product has dropped by seven percent in one year alone. Spain.a strange form of rescue. and demoralized its population. 2010. and psychic poisoning produced and controlled by the likes of Rupert Murdoch. and contract present and future productive capacity. having taken concrete shape in Rome. provoking further debt and consequent borrowing to the point where the European castle will be forced to crumble. Rescue loans are administered at such high rates of interest that Greece can only sink further into debt and endure an increasing sense of guilt.

T hey are panicking and. the expropriation of capital conglomerates. The financial class which has taken the reins of the European political machine has no attachment either to territory or to material production. as it stands. demand has to be reduced. they are 50 I The Upns ng: On Pceuy and Finance trying to reaffirm and reinforce measures that have already failed. growth will not follow. T he bourgeoisie. Yet Europe. "No future" culture has taken hold of the capitalist brain. as economic power is no longer based on the property of physical things.the insurrection) autonomous structures for knowledge. existence. Nowadays. yet unavoidable. rhe reduction of working rime. The flexibility of the system is over. survival. the cancellation of debt. dispersed. egalitarianism. Resistance movements must rearriculate European discourse through social solidarity. The fall of Maastricht is perilous. frightened by their own impotence. The bourgeoisie is dead. THE RIGHT TO INSOLVENCY AND THE DISENTANGLEMENT OF THE POTENCY OF THE GENERAL INTELLECT A Movement for the Reactivation of the Social Body The European leading class seems incapable of thinking in terms of the future. it could nor survive without relationships to territory and communi ty. and if demand is reduced. impersonal. If society is to pay the debt of the banks. psychotherapy. as it will inevitably open the doors to nationalism and violence. The relation between capital and society is dererritorialized. Europe must be pushed beyond Maastricht and the Schengen Agreement and embrace a future form of the international. it's difficult to see a consistent project in the frantic action of the leading class. can no longer be defended. Europe must overcome Maasrrichr in order ro be reinvented. was a strongly territorialized class. and the new financial class has a virtual existence: fragmented. and the origin of this capitalist nihilism is to be found in the effect of deterritorializarion rhar is inherent ro global financial capitalism. linked to material assets. D ebt must be disowned just as must be the measures which cause and feed ir. and rhe abolition of borders toward the construction of a postterrirorial politics. because its power and wealth are founded on the total abstraction of digital finance. This will be a long and potentially traumatic process. which was once in con trol of the economic scene of modern Europe. no margins are left. This digital-financial hyperabstraction is Tt1e European Collapse I 51 . and giving life meaning and autonomy. T he European collapse is exposing the agony of capitalism.

I 53 . a wave of protests and riots exploded in the schools and universities. has affirmed its own monopoly over decisions regarding the economies of the different countries approaching default in 2011. in the absence of any consultation of public opinion.e Upris. as the final collapse of the Union is the point of arrival of the spiral of debt-deflation-recession-debt that is already exposed in the Greek agony. Society was slow in reacting. and let's also try to look for a new methodology of action and a new political strategy for the movement. as financial power is not in the physical buildings. not to mention the North African precarious workers who have been part of the recent upheavals that are changing (for better or worse) the Arab world. Peaceful demonstrations are effective in the frame of democracy. too. algorithms. at the end of 2010. Can the ECB-IMF-EU directorate impose a system of automatisms that secures EU members' compliance with the process of public-sector wage reduction. and information. and riots seem unable to force a change in the politics of the Union. but democracy is over now that techno-financial automatisms have taken the place of political decisions. The problem is that peaceful demonstrations and rotests have not been able to change the agenda ~f the European Central Bank. The four nights of rage in the English suburbs and the violent riots of Rome and Athens have shown that it's possible for social protest to become On Poetry and F1nancE: The protest movement has proliferated during the last year. if we want to discover forms of action which may be able to confront the present form of power. this movement is targeting the financial powers and tryi ng to oppose the effects of the financial assault on society. from Athens to New York. Then. But violence. But protests. 52 I n.liquidating the living body of the planet and the social body of the workers' community. is unfit to change the course of things. It effectively divested parliaments of authority and replaced EU democracy with a business executive headed by the large banks. Violence is erupting h ere and there. as collective intelligence has been deprived of its social body. and so on? This order of things can not last indefinitely. demonstrations. which are financial automatisms working as the material constitution of the Union . we have to Tile European Col!aps_. as the national arliaments of the European countries are hostages ~f the Maastricht rules. and now that wave is mounting everywhere. Therefore. but in the abstract connections between numbers. From London to Rome. layoffs of a third of all teachers. Can it last? The European directorate that emerged after the Greek crisis. Let's try to understand why. and the social body has been completely subj ugated and depressed. Burning a bank is totally useless.

They have to be understood as forms of the psycho-affective reactivation of the social body. Following the example of Wikileaks. Because solidarity is based on the territorial proximity of social bodies. but people are rejecting the notion that we should have to pay for a debt that we have not taken. Solidarity is difficult to build now that labor has been turned into a sprawl of recombinant time-cells. I don't think that the English riots and the Italian revolts and the Spanish acampada should be seen as consequential revolutionary forms. you cannot build solidarity between fragments of time. Thirty years of the precarization of labo r and competition have jeopardized the very fabric of social solidarity. Autonomy is based on the ability to share daily life and to recognize that what is good for me is good for you. solidarity is not about yo u. solidari ty is not about altruism: it is about the pleasure of sharing 54 I Tt1e Upnsng: On Pcstry and Fna"lce the breath and space of the other. because they are unable to really strike at the heart of power. Love is the ability to enjoy myself thanks to your presence. and philosopher The European Col'apse I 55 .start from the understanding that cognitive labor is the main p roductive force creating the techno-linguistic automatisms which enable financial speculation. Anthropologist David Graeber. The virrualization of social communication has eroded the empathy between human bodies. The Right to Insolvency A new concept is emerging from the fog of the present situation: the right to insolvency. and workers' psychic ability to sh are time. Only when the general intellect is able to reconnect with the social body will we be able to start a process of real autonomization from the grip of financial capitalism. in his book Debt: The First 5. it's about me. In materialistic terms. and that what is bad for you is bad for me. The European countries have been obliged to accept the blackmail of the debt. Solidarity has nothing to do with altruistic selfdenial.000 Yem:r (2011). We're not going to pay the debt. and now that the process of subjectivation has consequently become fragmentary. we must organize a long-lasting process of dismantling and rewriting the techno-linguistic automatons enslaving all of us. goods. T he problem of solidarity has always been crucial in every process of struggle and social change. disempathetic. they have to be seen as attempts to activate a living relation between the social body and the general intellect. This is solidarity. and breath made fragile. and frail. Social subjectivity seems weak and fragmented against the backdrop of the financial assault. Like love. to your eyes.

2011) T he burden of d ebt is haunting the European imagi natio n of the future. and t he psychic implications of the sense of guilt that this notion carries. their teeth shiny. their hopes murderous and pure. hyper-populism. and the U nion. Nations were cracking under the weight of what marxisrs used to call "contradictions. Once again. as happens with recurring dreams. just slightly outof-sync. The concep t of insolvency implies The European Collapse I 57 . have inaugurated an interesting reflection on the cultural origin of the notion of d ebt. quiet like a foetus. The air became electric." while capitalists were clinging to the brim of their top-hats. It was the rime of industrialization. Old powers look at them in fear. liquid and growing. mass unemployment. and everything came in a mass scale. hyperinflation. And when it fell. is turning into a blackmail and a threat. T hese words are deceiving at the moment. and so on. jobs have been elimated. and in rhe depth of the social body. Last rime. First it was the war. they threw themselves down after it. It was the interwar period. The old empire is sinking. it rook him decades to be born. (Campagna. trees turned into banners and batons. as in actuality we are already paying for the debt: the educational system has already been defl nanced and privatized. it was debt. In response. the balance of power in the world is shifting. squares filled up. which used to represent a pro mise of pros perity and peace. the movement has launched the slogan: Wei·e not going to pay the debt. the rime of modernity. 56 I TI1e Up1is ng: On Poetry and Finan::e T his time. once it was over. everything is happening almost exactly the same way as las t time. in the dozens. in his essay "Recurring DreamsThe Red H eart of Fascism. melancholically. creating a consciousness of its arbitrariness and moral illegitimacy. their athletic screams are the powerful ones of modernity. T he right to insolvency is emerging as a new key phrase and concept loaded with philosophical implicatio ns. all waiting for the sky to fall to earth. down from their skyscrapers and their office blocks. and then. Additionally. Just like before. Nazism was still hidden.Maurizio Lazzara to. in The Making of the Indebted Man (201 2). and new powers are rushing in the race to the top. Growth! Growth! Growth! Their armies are powerful. listening to their incomprehensible languages like old people listen ro young people's music. Mass impoverishment. But these words are meant to change the social perception of the debt. and all the ries that came with it." the young AngloItalian thinker Federico Campagna pinpoints the analogy berween the post-Versailles Congress years and the debt-obsessed present.

it is also the internalization of a certain set of limitations. have in the past stressed the refrain: "We n eed to create institutions The European Collapse I 59 . The capitalist form is not only a set of economic rules and functions. in a more subtle way. We should imagine (and consequently organize) the disentanglement of the living potentiality of the general intellect from the capitalist Gestaltintended. If we may paradoxically cancel every mark of this financial semiotization. bur also. The concrete. task of refinancing the failed financial system. try to imagine that all of a sudden we stop organizing daily life in terms of money and debt. among many others. Nothing would change in the concrete. nothing in our intellectual ability to conceive and perform. in the contents of our knowledge. first and foremost. nothing would change in the social machinery. it is here. Insolvency means disclaiming the economic code of capitalism as a transliteration of real life. in our skills and ability to produce. The concrete force of productive labor is submitted to the unproductive. and actually destructive. EXHAUSTION: A SENILE UTOPIA FOR THE EUROPEAN INSURRECTION Financial Dictatorship Intellectuals like Jiirgen Habermas and Jacques Derrida. in our being. useful potentiality of society. The reclamation of the right to insolvency implies a radical questioning of the relation between the capitalist form (Gestalt) and the concrete productive potency of social forces. useful productive ability of the social body is forced to accept impoverishment in 58 / TI1e Upnsing: On Poetl)l and F1nance exchange for nothing. in the immanent life of common knowledge. We must start from this paradox in order to build a postpolitical and postrevolutionary process of disen tangling the possible from the existent. but social solidarity has never been so far from our daily experience. Communism does not need to be called out from the womb of the future. as a semiotization of social potency and richness. as a psychic automatism governing daily life. Capitalism has never been so close to its final collapse. But the present situation is paradoxicalsimultaneously exciting and despairing. particularly the potency of the general intellect.not only a refusal to pay the financial debt. of rules for compliance. Try to imagine for a second that the whole financial semiotization of European life disappears. of psychic automatism. a refusal to submit the living potency of social forces to the formal domination of the economic code.

After the Greek crisis. Further reduction of salaries for public workers. however. Who said that we absolutely must be part of the game? The effect of the collapse of neoliberal politics has so far been its own confirmation and consolidation. politics has taken this lead only in order to make the assessment that finance alone represents the true leadership of the Union. retirement. Full employment. After the Greek financial crisis. Welfare-state institutions have been under attack for thirty years. a collapse has occurred. and is now going to impose it on the different national governments of Europe. Society is in fact dissolving. . public transportation-all have been reduced. retirement time is postponed. further postponement of the retirement age. Merkel-Sarkozy-Trichet. emergency rule was declared.for unified political decision at the level of the European Union. Today. or destroyed. and the further impoverishment of labor. imposed a deflationary policy. this self-proclaimed directorate is diverting resources from society to the banks. social spending is cut. And in order to reaffirm the failed philosophy of neoliberalism. it seems that the Europhile intellectuals have gotten what they have been asking for. and the only outcome will be a further concentration of capital in the hands of the financial class. the dogma of monetarism has been strongly reinforced. labor On Poetry ar:d Ftnanca is fighting against one another. as if more poison could act as an antidote. public school. Reducing demand will lead to recession. salaries are lowered. What will happen next? The leading class answers roughly: more of the same. After the collapse of the American financial system. A self-proclaimed directorate. The Euro entity has been subjected to an act of political decision and to a sort of political directorate which is enforcing narrow obedience. Those who want to stay in the game will have to accept any punishment. reducing public space to a jungle wherein everyone 60 I Ths Upns. any renunciation." In the aftermath of the Greek crisis. worsened. and young people's work is made precarious. social security. A political enforcement of finance's domination over European society has been the outcome so far of this early stage of the European tragedy. Unfortunately. In order to save the financial system. any suffering that the Great Necessity will demand. that echoes like a selffulfilling prophecy. After thirty years of neoliberal zeal. Those who will not bend to the Great Necessity (Competition and Growth) will be out of the game. Thatcher said thirty years ago that there is no such thing as society. No respect for society's needs or for the rights of workers.

massive demonstrations have erupted in protest against the restrictive measures. and predictable violent 62 I n-. and Paul Krugman has been left alone to repeat very reasonable things that nobody wants to hear. We must forfeit civilization. In Paris. with a sort of mathematical ferocity. Is there any chance of stopping this insane race? A social explosion is possible. and create community currencies. Thanks to the crisis. But why should we accept this exchange? Europe's wealth is not based on the stability of the euro on international markets. or on managers' ability to keep count of their profits. and to consume only what is necessary to stay fit and make love. and now Europe is following the same dynamic. but this movement is not going to stop the catastrophic freight train of aggression bearing down on social life. because the European Union is not a democracy but rather a financial dictatorship whose politics is subjected to unquestionable decisions.e Upris:ng: On Poeiry ar. London. technicians. withdraw from the field of the market economy. The financial dogma states the following: if we want to keep partici paring in the game played in banks and stock markets. scientists. establish village economies in metropolises. A Keynesian approach has not even been explored. possibly long life. and Rome. "Civilization" is the pompous name we have given to every political and moral value that has made the pursuit of such a lifestyle possible. and stop partaking in the game of work and consumption. Peaceful demonstrations will not be able to change the course of things. doctors. Europe is wealthy because it has The European Collapse I 63 . Barcelona. and millions of workers who have for centuries developed technical knowledge. create new. American society has been robbed for the benefit of big finance. enhanced forms of cohabitation. quiet life. and a process of revenue redistribution seemed possible in order to increase demand. Unless they are seized by avarice-a psychotic obsession-all that human beings want is a pleasant.everybody was expecting abandonment or at least attenuation of capital concentration. These people will abandon the script of individual consumption. and poets. Europe is wealthy because it has millions of intellectuals. and a growing portion of society will withdraw from the economic field. A deep change in social perception and lifestyle will occur. because the conditions of daily life will soon become unbearable.o F•ranc~ explosions will be exploited by the repressive force of the state. But labor precarity and the decomposition of social solidarity may open the way to a frightening outcome: ethnic civil war on a continental scale and the dismantling of the Union. which would unleash the worst passions of the nations. Nothing like this has happened. we must forfeit a pleasant.

this foundational. confused. and to welcome and integrate cultures from afar. Citizens can do nothing in order to influence the politics of the ECB. and socialism. We must forfeit something. profit. but because these principals make it possible to live decently. as deflation is the prevailing trend. The prospect open to us is not a revolution. antimythological myth of the Union seems blurred. and imagine the mythology for cultural Tile Eu1opean Collapse I 65 . Social movements should try to change the landscape. And I say this not because I believe we should be attached to principles of the past. The concept of revolution no longer corresponds to anything.nsn. Here lies its progressive and pragmatic nature. It is also wealthy. not by the ideals of freedom. Today this goal is irrational. What now? The European Union is a fiction of democracy actually governed by an autocratic organism. civil rights. as long as the monetarist rule favored economic growth. the European Central Banlc While the Federal Reserve in the US is officially dedicated to the stability of prices and full employment. Our prospect is a paradigmatic shift: to a new paradigm that is not centered on product growth. the Enlightenment. the EU could exist. and forgotten because its apathetic perception of being together was only possible in a condition of prosperity. because it entails an exaggerated notion of political will over the complexity of contemporary society.r On Poetry ancl Fir\3Pce The European Union was born in the aftermath of the Second World War. In the future they may come to view the Union as their enemy. it must be said. we must let go of the hyperconsumption imposed on us by large corporationsbut not by the traditions of humanism. not just competition. because for four centuries it has ferociously exploited the physical and human resources of other continents. but what exactly? Certainly. and acc umulation. with the goal of forgetting our old nationalist and ideological passions. the ECB charter declares only one goal: fighting inflation. however.historically managed to valorize competence. and welfare. This is why European citizens have been conscious of the vacuity of European elections. Aesthetics of Europe The aesthetics of the European Union are frigid by definition . Lately. 64 I Tne Ur:. As long as the EU was able to guarantee a growing level of consumption. unfolding of the power of collective intelligence. Forgetting romanticism is the categorical imperative of the Union. as the Bank does not respond to political a uthority. but on the full .

n. aggressiveness. In the colonial age. and semio-capitalism has subjugated the nervous energy of society to the point of collapse. contempt for democratic rules. Capitalism is based on the exploitation of physical energy. Old-fashioned styles are devalued. nationalism was the cultural condition of colonial Empires like Britain and 66 I Tile Uprising: On Poetry and Finance France. The notion of exhaustion has always been anathema for the discourse of Modernity: Romantik Sturm und Drang. and profits. the rhetoric of the young and the devaluation of the old becomes an essential feature of advertising. The Eurooean Collapse I 67 . and growth. In late modernity. We should not forget that at the end of the eighteenth century. and the entropy inherent to human life. nationalism resurfaced in a responsive form and began to express the self-affirmation of young countries (Italy. Japa. an endless thirst for economic growth. During the Romantic era. has been despised. The organic body of the Earth. old people and women despised because of their weakness. and pharmacology. claiming that every old person can be young if they will only rake part in the consumerist feast. India and China were responsible for producing more than seventy percent of the total global product of the world. as Norman Spinrad shows in his 1969 novel. Contrary to fascist discourse. but around the turn of the twentieth century. and segregated. Austna and the Ottomans) were heading toward collapse. Denial of age and of time is the ultimate delirium of the global class. Modern culture and political imagination have emphasized the virtues of youth--of young passion. Bug jack Barron. late-modern advertising does not abuse old age. Berlusconi's style is restaging arrogance. bur rhe actors of the present comedy are old men who seek help from bio-rechniques. psycho-chemistry.transition. and ~ermany). and machoism. Their decline cannot be separated from Europe's ascent to domination. Nationalism can also take a self-affirmative form for the young generation at the cultural and economic level. as is evident in Italian futurism. while the old empires (Russ1a. Fascism depicts itself as the young age of the nations. Organic limits have been denied. the Faustian drive toward immortality. The fascism that triumphed in Italy after 1922 can be seen as an ene1golatreia (energy worship) of rhe young. The romantic cult of youth is the cultural source of nationalism. concealed. forgotten. and of energy. It denies it. We should focus on a foundational myth of European history: the myth of energy. Europe was an emerging civilization which was securing political hegemony by conquering the great Eastern civilizations.

Only the cultural and psychic elaboration of exhaustion will open the door to a new conception and perception of wealth and happiness.r~g· On Pcetry and Frnan::e In the next decade. and competition. or Vietnamese worker? It's going to take roo much time and too much violence and blood. The majority of European people are desperately defending the privilege accumulated during rhe centuries of colonialism. and the possible collective consciousness of the limits of the biological (sensitive) organism. then Europe's decline is guaranteed. Europe will make a decisive choice. the latter is ~ased on the mature virtues of technique. In the game of economic competition. The European Collapse I 69 . Europe now faces a dilemma between two hypotheses. that opens Europe's borders to the crowds coming from Africa and Asia. and this is a problem right now. but rather the enjoyment of time without any expectation of competitive acquisition and accumulation. profit. The other would be an intensification of the interethnic civil war whose first signs are already visible. but this privilege has been deteriorating since the fall of colonialist empires in the past century. at the border between consumerism. H ow long will it take to reduce a typical European salary to the level of an Indian. that implies a reduction in the Western. and finance. and pride. Europe cannot win. because exhaustion needs to be understood and accepted as a new paradigm for social life. Berlusconi s subcul ture is based on a delirium of power. T he coming European insurrection will not be an insurrection of energy. comsumptive lifestyle. This is why financial markets distrust the euro: if the standard is capital gain. The nemesis that followed the youthful violence of fascism was the Second World War and its unthinkable surfeit of destruction and death. 68 I Tl~e Uoris. heading instead toward a nongrowth of production and consumption. but an insurrection of slowness. and exhaustion. The former was based on the youthful virtues of strength. techno-sanitarian youth-styled aggressivity. Chinese.r Like the heroic mythology of fascist nationalism (and als~ the mythology of advertising). deception. What nemesis will be brought abou t by the present energolatreia of the old? The destiny of Europe will play out in the biopolitical sphere. and is now falling apart in the course of the global recession. withdrawal. Exhaustion has no place in Western culture. One path would be to accept a deal that redistributes wealth and resources. This option would not imply the idea of sacrifice and renunciation. energy. It will be the autonomization of the collective body and soul from the exploitation of speed and competition.

and is simultaneously dictating the destruction of the structures constituting the cultural and productive condition of its wealth. the economic newspapers were talking more and more of a "double dip. AND THE BODY THE FUTURE AFTER THE END OF THE ECONOMY Econom ic Science Is Not a Science At the close of the summer of 2011. The neoliberal idea of wealth is advancing social misery more and more. threatening inflation and misery for your sins. And the paradoxical solution for Europe could be to not fear decline. Gregory Bateson suggests that double-binds have paradoxical outcomes. or contradictory injunction. If you say this in public. But economists are not wise people. if recovery means a renewal of growth. and worshipping the dogmas of growth and competition. denouncing society's bad behaviors. There ·will be a recession-on that I agree-but there will never again be any recovery. you are regarded as a traitor." Economists predict there will be another recession before there can be a recovery. a doomsayer. Decline (reverse growth) implies a divestment from the frenzy of competition: this is the paradoxical path that may bring us out of neoliberalism's double-bind. 70 I The On Pcetry and Frnance 71 .The question that remains is: who says that economic competition is the only standard and political criterion of choice? Bateson would define the European malaise in terms of a double-bind. and economists scorn you as a villain. ECONOMY. They are much more similar to priests. 2 LANGUAGE. Neoliberal dogma is dictating European society to compete. a wrecker. asking you to repent for your debts. I think they are wrong. They should not even be considered scientists.

is not self-reflexive." has provoked an enormous Language. but a critic of political economy. T he faculty and students of economics and business schools do not teach and learn subjects like physics or chemistry or astronomy. in the sense proposed by Marx. Economy. the discourse named "economics" does not correspond to this schema. and therefore is unable to develop a theoretical self-appreciation and to reframe itself in relation to a paradigm shift. it is the result of a process of technical modeling. and the Body I 73 . Second. and gross national product. power. and strongly refuse to redefine their conceptual framework because they pretend that reality has to be changed in order for it to correspond to their outdated criteria. of pragmatic protocols that are intended to force social reality into practical purposes: profits. As far as I know. the creation of the global network of cogn itive labor that in "Fragment on Machines" (Grundrisse) Marx named "general intellect. Ideology is in fact a theoretical technology aimed at supporting special political and social goals. Finally. who was not an economist. accumulation. like all technologies. The theoretical discourse that supports the economic technology can be defined as ideology. and cl1ey determine that social reality is out of order when it is not matching these criteria. disciplines that deserve the title of scientific knowledge. economists are beset with dogmatic notions like growth. And economics ideology. competition. Financial Deterritorialization and Labor Precariry The development of productive forces. What is a science? W ithout embarking on epistemological discussions.It is difficult to believe that something like "economic science" really exists. Economics faculty and students rather teach and study a technology. a set of tools. as experience has shown over the last three or four years. and finally which is able to understand those kinds of changes that Thomas Kuhn has labeled paradigm shifts. economists are totally unable to infer laws from the observation of reality. First of all. as they prefer instead that reality harmonize with their pretended laws. they are totally unable to predict anything. of procedures. As a consequence. and exploitation. which is able to extrapolate general laws from the observation of empirical phenomena (and consequently able to predict something about what will happen next). I would simply say that science is a form of knowledge which is free of dogma. and which each conceptualize a specific field of reality. Economic reality does not exist. submission. economists cannot understand what is happening when the social paradigm is changing.

Eccnamy. was able to manage physical property. This potency can no longer be semiotized. Now the old bourgeoisie has no power anymore. and linear growth) no longer make sense in this new situation. when its products are immaterial? H ow can the relationship between work and salary be determin ed? How can we measure value in terms of time. and private appropriation of surplus value. that is called precarity (o r the precariousness of labor). If social production does not comply with the economic Language. in terms of use value (of production of useful semiotic goods). the shift from physical labor to cognitive labor. Economists are totally dazzled by this transformation. Capitalism is no longer able to semiotize and to organize the social potency of cognitive productivity. private property. and his or her activity can be diffused throughout a nonphysical territory. of the city)." Labor is undergoing a parallel process of pulverization and deterritorialization. affective. does not need to be linked to a place. out of its ideological self-consciousness. the fracture in the relationship between worker and territory. is virtually unlimited. linguistic) cannot be quantified and standardized? The End of Growth The notion of growth is crucial in the conceptual framework of the economic technology. and opens the door to the deterritorialized and rhizomatic proliferation of economic power relations. and therefore the old fo rms of private property and salary are no longer able to semiotize and organize the deterritorialized existence of capital and social labor. and the BO:ii I 75 .T increase in the productive potency of labor. The old economic categories (salary. if the productivity of cognitive work (creative. bur it is also the effect of fragmentation and pulverization of work. Precarization is not only the loss of a regular job and a salary. The bourgeoisie. has projected capitalism out of itself. So how can semiotic labor be valued. having been replaced by a proliferating virtual class (a deterritorialized and pulverized social dust. The productivity of the general intellect. The cognitive worker. as economic knowledge has always been structured according to the paradigm of bourgeois capitalism: linear accumulation. and contained by the social form of capitalism. T he shift from the industrial form of production to the semiotic form of production. organized. The utter financialization of capital marks the end of the old bourgeoisie. in fact. as well as a measurable relation between time and value. because value can no longer be defined in terms of the average necessary time of labor. measurability of value. which was a territorialized class (the class of the bourg. 74 I Ti1e Uprising: On Poetry and F1nance rather than a territorialized group of people) that is usually referred to as "financial markets.

For many reasons. Bur it could become a blessing if we redistribute social product in an egalitarian way. in the economic sense. The cognitive transformation of production and the creation of a semio-capitalist sphere have opened a new possibility for expansion-and for a few years in the 1990s the economy was able to expand euphorically. if social welfare remains dependent on the expansion of monetary profits. and tne Body I 77 ~J . we have been informed that the physical resources of the planet are not boundless. more than it is an evaluative economic criterion of social health and well being. After the illusions of the new economy (spread by wired neoliberal ideologues) and the eventual dot-com crash. of sensibility. bur rather depends on the distribution of wealth. the limits to growth are inscribed in the affective body of cognitive work: limits of attention. Growth. because it does nor refer to the use-value of things and of semiotic goods. is nor a measure of social welfare and pleasure. economists decree that society is sick and shivering. is not about the increase of social happiness and satisfaction of the basic needs of people. bur a monetary measure. and on the balance of cultural expectations and the availability of physical and semiotic goods. the main indicator of growth. Since September 2008. bur about the expansion of financial profits and the expansion of the global volume of exchange value. the very beginning of the new century announced the coming collapse of the financial economy. Social happiness or unhappiness does not generally depend on the amount of money circulating in the economy. It was a deception. This could be a curse. Gross national product. and they name rhe disease "recession." This diagnosis has nothing to do with the needs of the population. and if we revise our cultural expectations to be more frugal. bur to abstract capitalist accumulation. of psychic energy. infinite expansion has become an impossible task for the social body. It is linked to the modern conception of the future as infinite expansion. Econom~·. Growth is a cultural concept. and social production has to be redefined according to this knowledge. we have known that {notwithstanding the financial virrualization of expansion) the end of capitalist growth is in sight.expectations of growth. and if we are unable to redefine social needs and expectations. because even if the general intellect is infinitely productive. Since the Club of Rome published the book The Limits to Growth in 1972. while the Internet economy was expected to furnish a new landscape of infinite growth. if we share existing resources. replacing the idea that pleasure depends on ever-increasing consumption. which is accumulation of exchange value. Language.

Economy.~ I Recession and Financial. signifiers referring to a signified. There Language:. They are performing indexicals. The mind of the economist cannot make the jump to this new dimension and cannot understand this paradigm shift. This is why the economy is a mess. It has millions of technicians. figures.. it is. The financial semiotization of the economy is a war machine that destroys social resources and intellectual skills on a daily basis. 78 I The Uprising: On Poetry anci Finance The wealth produced by the collective intelligence has been drawn away and diverted. and the creation of a destructive financial machine that obliterates use-value and displaces monetary wealth. the European continent is rich. The entirety of the wealth that workers have produced was poured into the strongboxes of a minuscule minority of exploiters and speculators. an effect of language. rather. So how did we suddenly become so poor? Something very simple happened. acts of speech that produce immediate effects in the very instant of their enunciation. Finance is not the monetary translation of a certain amount of physical goods. acting on the psycho-cognitive sphere of the economy. specialized factory workers. But at the same time. Impersonal Dictatorship Modern culture has equated economic expansion with futurity. But this identification has to be abandoned. doctors. when you go looking for the financial class. and the concept of the future rethought. so that for the economists it is impossible to think the future independently of economic growth. Finance is the transversal function of immaterialization. toward financial capitalism. fears. or an enemy to fight against. After centuries of industrial production. and the performative action ofindexicality. This is why. poets. It's not easy to identifY financial capitalists as persons. Statistics. Finance is an effect of the virtualization of reality. Look at what is happening in Europe. you cannot locate someone to talk to. inventors. and expectations are not linguistic representations of some economic referent that can be found somewhere in the physical world. The effect of this displacement is the utter impoverishment of some of the richest places in the world.. indexes. finance is an effect of the deterritorialization of wealth. or negotiate with. away from society and toward the financial class. and why economic wisdom cannot cope with the new reality. and the Bx!y I 79 . nuclear engineers . Recession is the economist's way of semiotizing the present contradiction between the productive potency of the general intellect and current financial constraints. The whole mechanism of the European financial crisis is oriented toward the most extraordinary displacement of wealth that history has ever known.

wealth. Finally. This is why the future is over. Finance seems inhumane and pitiless because it is not human and therefore has no pity. It is based on cooperation and sharing. But energy is fading in the postmodern world. bur only mathematical implications. Future Exhaustion and Happy Frugality Only if we're able to disentangle the future (the perception and conception of the future. those who have signed mortgages semi-consciously. If we are able to come to terms with this postfuturistic condition.nar. Exhaustion is a cursed word in the frame of modern culture. On Pco:lrl and F. Those who have invested their pensions in private funds. will we find an escape from the vicious subjugation of life. and what has been considered a blessingthe prolonged life expectancy-may prove to be a misfortune. an:l tr··e 8o)Qy I 8 1 . A sense of exhaustion results from this process of general aging.are no enemies or people to negotiate with. Economy. and pleasure to the financial abstraction of semio-capital. and will be happy in sharing the wealth from our Language. Energy is also fading because basic physical resources like oil are doomed to extinction or dramatic reduction. winning. and that they do not even understand. 80 T•·.••s n?. as a whole. energy is fading because competition is stupid in the age of the general intellect. automatic social concatenations that you cannot dismantle or avoid. we'll renounce accumulation and growth. and the very production of it) from the traps of growth and investment. which is based on the cult of energy and the cult of male aggressivity. if the myth of energy is not restrained and replaced with a myth of solidarity and great compassion. because of the prolongation of life expectancy.e The key to this disentanglement may be found in a new form of wisdom which harmonizes with exhaustion.o:. Often unwittingly and unwillingly. They are poor people. It can be defined as a mathematical tumor traversing a large part of society. and we are living in a space that is beyond the future. and because of the decreasing birth rate. and appropriation. T hose who are involved in the financial game are much more numerous than the property-owners of the old bourgeoisie. The general intellect is not based on juvenile impetus and male aggressivity-on fighting. Energy is fading because of the demographic trend: mankind is growing old. those who have fallen into the trap of quick credit have all become part of the traversal function of finance. workers. people have been dragged to invest their money and their futures in the financial game. for many reasons that are easy to detect. pensioners whose futures depend on the fluctuations of the stock market that they do not control at all. Ur:.

and angry. misery. language." "You're wasring your time here.past of industrial labor and from our present of collective intelligence. MONEY. But all the possible ways of storing and investing are each linked to changes in the history of capitalism. I noticed that fact several days ago at the Berlin airport. and singularity. so I will not try to be systematic. What do you store in a bank? You store time. Economy. for instance. as they presuppose that rime is something than can be given or withdrawn. and events? Well. What is relevant here is that I am European and not German. I will try to find some reference points that may help us understand something about our present. language. you're talking about storing ti me. money. too. I say that when you talk about banks. If we are nor able to do this. from the point of view of time. But when you do not see any hope in your Language. Take the Greeks. and time. because banks are essentially about time. and I saw an old couple with smiling faces looking at the timetable. I was there waiting for my flight. and you are also storing your future. I was the only sad person in the Berlin airport. You know how sad they are. we will be doomed to a century of violence. and war. It's quite difficult to be systematic about time." These sentences are meaningless. and imply that time is something that can be gained or lost. and language. and also in the history of the relationship between capitalism and our life. You see how sad the European landscape is today. let's have a look at the European landscape. The essential transformation in the passage from modern bourgeois capitalism to contemporary 82 I The Upns•ng: On Poetry and Finance semio-capitalism was a shift in the perception of the relation between money." "I need more rime. I had my own personal reasons to be sad-that's not what I want to talk about. In a sense. TIME. subjectivity. Everybody looked happy except me. you are storing your past. AND LANGUAGE Storing Time Think about the following sentences: "Give me rime. a technology aimed at the reification and the accumulation of time. It is on this kind of absurdity that the economy is based. This is my starting point: the relation between time. possessed and stored. Timebank is a sort of tautology. and also how desperate. and also a young punk girl with tattoos. and tile Bocly I 83 . What is happening in our present.

because the essential tool of financial capitalism is this: truth has disappeared. nobody knows what is hidden in the future rime of debtors. and now rhe German banks are asking for their money back. and they have stored rhar promise in German banks. misery: this is the way we are paying for our (imaginary) futu re: debt. Floating Values Yo u cannot find truth in financial capitalism. except Germans. Do you know why? Because German banks are full of our time. D ebt is actually future time-a promise about the future. suddenly. Jean Baudrillard says that rhe whole system Lan\)uag. and Irish time. the crucial enigma. or you are our. the Greeks and rhe Portuguese and others are obliged to become poor. you're angry and desperate. So. And so are rhe Portuguese. and the Booy 1 85 - . or you'll become poor. They were happy some years ago. dissolved. (the rime that I have spent in the past). and then rhe secret will no longer be 84 I TI:e Upns1ng: On Poetry and FimncE: one. is it a secret or an enigma? A secret is something that is hidden somewhere. It's no longer there. The crucial mystery. Economy. Something is wrong with this exchange. T here is no more truth. or is it the money that ensures the possibility of my buying a future? Well. impoverishment. only a deterritorialization of meaning. and then want my money back. because you cannot find a key.. The key is nowhere. and also the truth is nowhere. nor to mention the Irish. and so on. a book p ublished in 1976. rhe crucial secret in the financial age of capitalism is precisely this: is the money that is stored in the bank my past time. Italian time. Greeks have been obliged to promise away their future time. T he German banks have stored Greek rime. because nobody knows about the future. Either you give your present rime as payment for rhe fut ure rime rhar you have stored in German banks. And the Greeks are angry and desperate. the Italians.. It will become a truth. only an exchange of signs. An enigma is different. and now. Portuguese time. Recession. the Portuguese. You have to know rhe password. when we speak about fi nancial capitalism. are we speaking of a secret. So in order to avoid being expelled from the European Union. when we argue abo ut the relation between time and fut ure and debt. or are we speaking of an enigma? I think we are sp eaking of an enigma. They have stored the futures of the Greeks. Either you pay. In Symbolic Exchange and Death.present situation. You take my (future) time. That's the problem. rhey are in a different mood-as are all Europeans. you have to find rhe right key. So the only way to solve t his enigma is with violence.

the dollar has been free from any fixed standard. Financial capitalism is essentially based on the loss of relation between time and value. But some years before that. In the first pages of Capital. or the will of American capitalism. you see that when the process of production becomes semiotic. Well. an innovation. dissolves into thin air. a style. There are no longer material things. he decided to free the dollar from the gold standard. and the Body / 87 . something new happened in the organization of work. Baudrillard was the first thinker who understood and described this passage. Economy. that does not matter. the relationship between labortime and value suddenly evaporates. no longer the production of things which are tangible visible materials. but signs. the accumulation of time. Langu3ge. and value. but the average social time that is needed to produce a certain good. If you are lazy. work is no longer the physical. But try to decide how much time it takes to produce an idea. And Nixon did something very. Well. time that has become On Poetry and Finance When you want to establish the average time that is needed to produce a material object. was over. in the relation between time. very important as far as changing the future went. The presidents of the US in those times were like prophets. Marx explains that value is time. goods. He decided that the gold-standard system and the Bretton Woods system. Suddenly. not because they predicted the future zeitgeist. US President Richard Nixon did something that changed the world. but because they were powerful enough to imprint their will. or too fast. Then things changed: all of a sudden. Since then. based on a fixed relation between different falling into indeterminacy. What is important in the determination of value is the average time that is needed to produce a certain good. This is the essential shift from industrial capitalism to semio-capitalism: indeterminacy takes the place of the fixed relation between labor-time and value. work. muscular work of industrial production. Try to decide how much time is necessary to produce a project. This was true in the good old days when it was possible to determine the time that was needed to produce something. Baudrillard wrote Symbolic Exchange and Death in 1976 . to decide how much time is needed to produce a material object. so that the whole regime of exchange falls into an aleatory system of floating values. but the production of something that is essentially semiotic. 86 / Tile Upns. But be careful: not just any kind of time is relevant in the determination of value. onto the future. Time objectified. It's easy to state this. and in production technology. and value. you just have to do a simple calculation: how much physical labor time is needed to turn matter into that good.

and the bank. in the sense of a becoming-slow of vision." Even. or determined in any way. forgetting. It's absolutely structural. and views acceleration as a process of increasing potency. Fascism Femininity Futurism We are accustomed-! say "we. the measure. its president. Of course. if I can. Floating. Latin uses the word ratio in order to describe the fixed relationship. an endless process of growth. fixed. This conception of acceleration is new in the history of thought and in the history of art. what is the condition of the final decision? What is the action or process of determining value? Strength. modern conception of futurity is crucial in understanding the way modernity has thought about time. In conditions of aleatority. and Ftn3nce at the end of this chapter. deciding the exchange rate of the dollar? Violence. There can be no financial economy without violence. violence. Give me time. because violence has now become the one single method of decision in the absence of the standard. The conjuncture between violence and the financialization of capitalism is not a casual and extemporaneous one. But first I want to say something now about time. And in philosophical parlance. the standard. undetermined. What is time in "The Futurist Manifesto"? The manifesto understands time as acceleration. measurement ended. ratio refers to the universal standard of understanding things: reason. After Nixon's decision. of course. autonomous-or better. What is the final way of deciding something-for instance. "The Futurist Manifesto. and also in terms of perfectibility. Standardization ended.Independent. The old. decided that violence would take the place of measurement. Something aleatory is something that cannot be predicted. I will here pause in my elaboration of financial capitalism. aleatory." meaning my generation. but I want to come back to this subject 88 I Tt1e Upnsing: On Poetr. that means that the United States of America. and the Body / 89 . Richard Nixon." Time is crucial to "The Futurist Manifesto. force. Let's us not forget that Cezanne has a lot to do with Henri Language. The possibility of determining the average amount of time necessary to produce a good ended." they are also speaking about time. when the futurists speak of despising "the woman. The best definition of modern time you can find is in Marinetti's manifesto of 1909. but only in the sense of deceleration. The idea that one's perception of time can be changed was already there in Impressionism and in Cezanne. Economy. the last modern generation-we are accustomed to thinking about time in terms of progress.

sometimes a wounded or suffering one (Petrarch: My Italy. Contempt for the woman is one of the crucial points of "The Futurist Manifesto. ). Masculine potency is essentially perceived by Italian futurists as a problem of 90 I TI1e LJo. Italian fascism is based on despising the woman. ar j ihs Bod1 / 91 . Ugo Foscolo-it always speaks of Italy as a beautiful woman. he was speaking of time in terms of subjective duration. While the Russian futurists were more interested in time from the point of view of their literary and artistic production but were less explicit in their poetics declarations. Italian futurists were trying to speak about time from the point of view of acceleration. Giacomo Leopardi. And they said something that Paul Virilio has fully explained in h is latecentury books: velocity and acceleration are the modern tools of potency. This is why Bergson is the philosopher who best interprets impressionist and symbolist poetics. but especially by Marinetti and the Italian futurists. political.Dante.. industrial competition arrived. war. taste for life. Bergson speaks of time in terms of perception. and military potency are based on velocity in the late-modern age. Italy's self-identification was feminine." but it's also one of the crucial points of the creation of the ridiculous. ng: On Poetry and F nan::e acceleration and we must not forget that Italian modernity was very concerned with the problem of the masculinization of perception: of time. though words cannot heal I The m01tal wounds I So dense. Petrarch. The possibility of different intensities in temporal perception was introduced by Bergson and Cezanne. When being Italian was not shameful like it is today. as a feminine body. as well as those of futurism. industrial. not extension. of power. If you read Italian poetry. This is the crucial change from the classical age of bourgeois representation to the late-modern crisis and proliferation of viewpoints and streams of perception and consciousness.Bergson. and the main concern of Italian national culture became destroying this feminine self-perception. miserable national pride of the Italians. Because Bergson was offering a new perspective on time. One cannot understand Italian fascism if one doesn't start from the need for a defeminization of cultural self-perception. and affi rm ing aggressivity and ludicrous masculinity: fascism is Language. Italians h ave always regarded themselves from a feminine perspective. I see on your lovely flesh . of politics. but also one with a feeling of pleasure and brightenjng. Economy. Torquato Tasso. and slowness. The greatness ofltalian culture is femininity.. Mediterranean sweetness. not in terms of the universal category of the human mind. T hen something happened: nationalism. who translated the concept of time into the concept of duration.

when unfornmately it was not. What has happened? 1977 I want to focus on the crucial year 1977. controversial place where different viewpoints can meet. and so on: all this is fake. after 1870. crazy. but a tragic and criminal farce. and devastation. similar to the Italian one. and the Bc{ly I 93 . The result is a farcical show of aggressivity that is perfectly embodied by such murderous. It's criminal. Italian fascism was about forgetting laziness. Think. I think that 1977 is especially important for many reasons. It's not ridiculous. that provoked war. National pride. and the emperor has to 92 1 The Uprising: On Poetly and Finance become a true man. represents the end of the possibility of a gentle modernity. Don't forget that 1977 is the year when Charlie Chaplin dies. slowness. Now the glory of the future is over. That kind of hysteria. futurism is all about the destruction of the past. murderous hysteria of Italian and Japanese fascism. From one day to the next. It was a farce. conflict. The death of that man.the turning point from feminine self-perception to masculine assertiveness. in general-did. We no longer trust the future. murderous. When in fact. As far as time goes. the ridiculous. Charlie C haplin is the last man of modern times-the age of the Language. it's not funny. cowardly clowns as Mussolini and Berlusconi. but not funny. and affirming a different perception of time. women disappear and warriors appear. not the past. of the elimination of women in the environment of the emperor. Economy. Italian futurism is a good essential introduction to the twentieth century. industrial growth. comes as a consequence of the denial and forced obliteration of the feminine side of those cultures. because the twentieth century can be defined as the century that trusted in the future. and the emphasis on and glorification of the future. one based on acceleration. In the nineteenth century. and then find progressive agreement. in many ways. it's not fake. horrible. This is why Italian fascism is often perceived as a farce. The feminine perception of]apanese identity is. And the modernization of the Meji restoration was based first of all on the defeminization of Japanese culture. But there is something that sounds false in Italian history. Italian national culture became ashamed of the peaceful femininity of Mediterranean people. the end of the perception of time as a contradictory. When you speak of German fascism. military aggressivity. and Mediterranean sensitivity. Futurism asserted the idea that the future was the better dimension of time. death. in my perception. as the futurists-and the moderns. for instance. and began inoculating itself with testosterone.

in terms of Deleuze and Guattari's definition. and the transformation of our relation with nature into one of scarcity. and the beginning of a new age. Beginning in 1977. deregulation. This is fascism. I don't think it can. In 1977. The Apple trademark was registered in 1977. Economy. need. looking at the city from a perilous vantage point. which is an age of total violence: financial globalization. you forget the meaning of words. created the user-friendly interfaces for the digital acceleration and mandatory unification of time. So I would say that neoliberalism is the most perfect form of fascism. Otherwise. coming into daily life and destroying daily life. the horrible machine. This is not right. But since 1977. because "competition" means violence. infinite war. Charlie Chaplin is the man on the watch tower. when in every nook and in every cranny of daily life a war machine is hidden. total competition. a normal word. and they say: fascism is when a war machine is hidden in every niche. and the Body I 95 . I don't know) is the submission of human relationships to one single goal: competition. C harlie Chaplin died. I don't know if economics can be considered a science. competition. in A Thousand Plateaus. the Metropolitan Indians rioted in the streets of Rome and Bologna. But I also want to remember that 1977 is the year when Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak. because only 94 I TI1e Up:ising: On Poetry and F:nance violence is decisive. competition. in their small garage in Silicon Valley. but also the age of social conflict. You don't have one. but also at the city where time can be negotiated and governed. You forget that competition equals war. looking at the city of time. and labor-time into value.machine. the word "competition" becomes the crucial term for economists. Now "competition" has become a natural word. a group of young British musicians for the first time cried no future. If capitalism wants to continue to exist in the history of mankind. It is a technology whose aim is the transformation of time into labor. the project of the science of economics (or technology. the end of industrial capitalism. Competition is the concealment of a war machine in every niche of daily life: the kingdom of competition is fascism perfected. war. cry to define fascism. What Sid Vicious and the other Sex Pistols screamed and declared in 1977 was the final premonition of the end of modern times. and consumption. Deleuze and G uattari. then the history of mankind has to become a site of total violence. I think it is a technology. of solidarity. That same year. This is the meaning of competition. and on the banks of the Thames in the Queen's Jubilee. Don't think about your future. of social consciousness. Language.

d Finance then acceleration enters another phase. 96 I Ths Upns1ng: On Pcet•Y ar. then. to our brain-to the social brain? Cognition takes time. This is why the new economy has failed. anj the Bod. H e says that. to what Baudrillard would call hyperacceleration. the economists became aware of the simple fact that the market of the semiocapitalist world is a market of attention. of understanding. the environment where information races toward the brain. words. and of affection. was the effect of an overproduction in the field of attention. After the explosion of the Internet bubble. It is a kind of hyperfuturism when the old accelerative conception of the future is the crucial tool for the capitalist goat. Increasing productivity in the sphere of semio-capitalism is essentially a problem of accelerating the infosphere. about the special kind of inflation that happens in the field of information. The acceleration of productivity in the sphere of industrial production is about intensifying the rhythm of the machine so that workers are forced to move faster in manipulating physical matter and producing physical things. at the end of the 1990s. the dot-com crash. affective reactions. if you want to obtain a growth in productivity. Attention cannot be infinitely accelerated. suddenly several books about the attention economy appeared in bookstores. you need to accelerate work time. Market and attention had become the same thing. the dot-com crash was the consequence of an overexploitation of the social brain. after a long period of constant acceleration. which is also a growth in surplus value. I say that semio-inflation is when you need more signs. All of a sudden. if yo u want to increase productivity. Marx speaks of an overproduction crisis: if you produce too much of a certain good. At the beginning of the last decade. William Burroughs said that inflation is essentially when you need more money to buy less things. and of relative surplus value. But at a certain point acceleration steps and jumps to another dimension. Think of what attention is. The crisis of 2000.' 1 97 . Economy. another dimension. he's speaking about acceleration. In the sphere of semio-capital. what you have to do is accelerate the infosphere. When Marx speaks of productivity. What happens. and information to buy less meaning. people Language. It is a problem of acceleration. When the main tool of production begins to be cognitive labor. of meaning. in the year 2000. Attention is the activation of physical reactions in the brain. Karl Marx has already said something similar. and also of emotional.Semio-inflation I want to say something about semio-inflation.

98 1 The Upris1ng: On Poetry and F1nance Collapse Do you remember the night of the turn of the century. What happened next? Well. When Alan Greenspan. So. amphetamine. This is the overproduction crisis in the framework of industrial capitalism. the age of increasing productivity. How can we explain that expectation? The collapse did not have to do with the millennium bug. "I feel an irrational exuberance in the markets. in those months. the next step was an overproduction crisis in the field of semiocapitalism . Only a mad Lar. Economy. for instance. after the excitement and the acceleration. You know how it ends." he was not speaking about the economy. But the 1990s were also the decade of Prozac mania.cannot buy all those things. nothing. The collapse represented the fall of the Prozac-fueled excitement in the social brain of the cognitive workers all over the world.guage. In the first years of the century-2000. But there was an expectation of collapse in the air. He was speaking about the end of the cocaine high in the social brain of millions of cognitive workers. All of a sudden. This can work for a time. when everybody was waiting for the Y2K bug? I was in front of my TV. We have techniques and drugs that give us the capability of being more productive in the field of attention. increasing happiness of intellectual workers. He was speaking about the Prozac crash . said. because attention cannot be accelerated past a limit. waiting for the final collapse. from one day to the next. But we know the problem with that. and then it ends. anc! tl<e Booy I 99 . What is the overproduction crisis when we enter the phase of semio-capital? The overproduction lies in the relation between the amount of semiotic goods produced by cognitive labor and the amount of time that is disposed of. I had staked all my credibility on promising everyone that that night would be the final one of our lives. and nothing happened. One can accelerate one's attention. the capitalist begins firing workers. The 1990s were the dot-corn era. increasing enthusiasm for production. A society's total quantity of attentive time is not boundless. One cannot understand what Alan Greenspan calls "irrational exuberance" without taking into account the simple fact that millions of cognitive workers took tons of cocaine. Then September 11th arrived. It was the most horrible night of my life. and this worsens the situation. and the goods will remain in the stores. one can take amphetamines. comes the apocalypse. unsold. Nothing. and Prozac during the 1990s. of the world economy. because he does not need any more production. and nothing happened at all. and overproduction became the solution to everything. 2001-the problem was the perception of the coming collapse of capitalism.

Infinite war is a sign of the kind of craziness that is a symptom of the inflation of meaning. H e was totally indifferent to winning or losing the war. between words and affection. My mother told me acqua. T he cognitive workers' organism. throughout human history access to language has always been mediated by trust in the mother's body. It was so eviden t that starting a war in a place like Afghanistan. as far as we have known. It is a problem of time. told me "this is acqua. to a depressed organism. But postmodern history. Economy. What does one need when experiencing semioinflation. with Sid Vicious screaming no future. I know that water is "water" (actually. has been the history of a techno-linguistic machine 100 I Tile Uprising: On Poetry and Fu1an::e which has increasingly penetrated every recess of daily life. and I trust her body. T he relation between the signifier and the signified has always been guaranteed by the body of the mother. is crazy. and is changing the relation between language and the body. was submitted to the amphetaminic therapy of war by the mad doctor George Bush. depressed for chemical and economic reasons. But that is exactly what happened after September 11th. and also raking the place of human beings in language for the current generation. The first generation that learned more words from a machine than from their mothers has a problem concerning the relationship between words and the body. More and more signs are buying less and less meaning. and a surefire way to lose. acceleration. The separation of language learning from the body of the mother and from the body in general is changing language itself.r doctor would prescribe amphetamine to a depressed person. and deceleration: it is a problem of easification. The doctor was mad. The techno-linguistic machine is giving language to human beings. and the Bocly / 101 . But the problem was not one of winning or losing: the problem concerned starting a war that would never end. and the result of this is now here: the infinite war. and one's attention is unable to follow? What is needed is some sort of dispositive to make things easier. and therefore by the body of the other." I know that the signifier points to the signified. What happens to the relation between language and desire when access to language is disconnected from the body? When the relation between the signifier and the signified is no longer guaranteed by the presence of Language. I know that acqua is "acqua'') because my mother. a dispositive to reduce the speed of the infosphere. when the infosphere starts moving faster and faster. with an ally like Pakistan. Doctor Bush did not want to win the war. As far as we know. every space of the social brain. The end of modernity began with the collapse of the future. not a machine. since I learned from my mother how to speak in Italian.

My relation to the world becomes functional. What does abstraction mean? When Marx talks about abstract labor. two new levels of abstraction appear. operational-faster. but precarious. which is what happens under capitalism. Marx means the abstraction of value from usefulness (use value). So the capitalist does not care 102 I The Upns1ng On Poet1y ancl Finance 103 . This is the point where precariousness starts. and the abstraction of productive work from concrete forms of human activity. But in the sphere of semio-capitalism. if you will. The use-value of the worker's product is only a step toward the real thing. At the point of disconnection between language and the body. which is value.the body. the general effect of capitalism on human activity. abstraction is the main trend of capitalism. my affective relation to the world starts to be disturbed. which is surplus value. 3 THE GENERAL INTELLE CT IS LOOKING FOR A BODY ABSTRACTION AND PATHOLOGY Three Levels of Abstraction In Marx's writings. he is referring to the separation of a worker's activity from concrete usefulness. as developments of the Marxian abstraction.

Weinstein write that in the field of digital acceleration. When the referent is cancelled. So the acceleration of the info-flow implies an elimination of meaning. The destruction of the real world starts from this emancipation of valorization from the production of useful things.. and bread become superfluous. the TI•e General Intellect Is Looking for a Body I 105 . In the old industrial economy described by Marx.if his work is producing chickens or books or cars . which is not a crisis at all. But in order ro produce value. but in the field of interoperativity between informational machines. books. the faster value is accumulated. the acceleration of financial circulation and valorization implies an elimination of the real world. In the sphere of the financial economy. T he Virgin Mary gave birth ro her son without any engagement in the reality of sex. The emancipation of value from the referent leads to the destruction of the existing world. parthenos means virgin. he was still obliged to produce cars and books and bread. when profit is made possible by the mere circulation of money. and from the selfreplication of value in the financial field. In the late-modern phase of capitalism. In his book Data TrdSh (1994). Information takes the place of things. through the extraction of surplus value from labor. In the sphere of the digital economy. and the body. Jesus Christ was created by parthenogenesis. or even the production of goods (physical or semiotic). This is exactly what is happening under the cover of the so-called financial On Poetry and F1nance beings to debt. The accumulation of abstract value is made possible through the subjection of human 104 I The Upris. and through predation on existing resources. digital abstraction adds a second layer to capitalist abstraction: transformation and production no longer happen in the field of bodies. He cares only about this: how much value his work can produce in a given unit of time. Actually. The more yo u destroy physical things. which is financial abstraction. as meaning needs time to be produced and to be elaborated and understood. the goal of production was already the valorization of capital. physical resources. We then have a third level of abstraction. the capitalist was still obliged to exchange useful things. But meaning slows down this process. Finance means that the process of valorization no longer passes through the stage of use value. Arthur Kroker and Michael A. more information means less meaning. and the body is cancelled from the field of communication. In Greek. the more you can accelerate the circulation of financial flows. The financial economy (like conceptual art) is a parthogenetic process.. the faster information circulates. This is the beginning of the process of capitalist abstraction. and material manipulation. the production of cars.

has so deeply transformed rhe social environment that the 106 I TI1e Upnstng: On Poewy and Fn1a11ce cognitive processes of learning. As M aurizio Lazzarato points out in his book The Making ofthe Indebted Man. M others are replaced by linguistic machines that are constantly talking and showing. mothers are less and less the source of language: they are separated from the bodies of children by salaried labor. Value does nor emerge from a physical relationship between work and things. and the virrualization of social communication in general. which is now entering the scene of the world. but by rhe abstract force of finance: debt. and also by the globalization of the affective marker. by rhe networked mobilization of their mental energies. Digital abstraction leads ro the virrualizarion of the physical act of meeting. Mental disorders and psychopathologies are symptoms of this dual process of virtual derealization and acceleration. The process of production is merging in the infosphere. labor is no longer dominated by the physical force of power. The movements erupting in Europe and in the Arab world may be the first glimpses of a long-term Tt1e General lnte1 1ect Is Locktng iot a Botly I 107 . Financial abstraction leads to the separation of rhe circulation of money from the production process of value itself. and we cannot yet draw final conclusions about the self-consciousness of the fi rst connective generation. imagining. Digital abstraction. and the manipulation of things. Millions of women leave their children in Manila and Nairobi and go to New York or London to look after the children of cognitive workers who leave their own children at home to go to offices. What are the long-term effects of this separation of language from the mother's body? What are the long-term effects of the automation of language learning? I have no final answers to these questions. and inducing mutations. and memorizing are affected. because of the capture of feminine nervous and physical energies by the machinary of global exploitation.monetization and financialization of the economy represent a parrhogenizarion of the creation of value. and rhe acceleration of productivity is transforming into an acceleration of the information flows. speaking. In the sphere of neoliberal capitalism. The connective generation is learni ng language in a framework where the relation between language learning and the affective body rends to be less and less relevant. but rather from rhe self-replication of the parrhogeneric force of finance. These new levels of abstraction nor only concern the labor process-they encompass every space of social life. Digitalization and financializarion have been transforming the very fabric of rhe social body.

process of self-organization by the precarious. and then the explosion of the dot-com bubble in Tne Ger>erallnte"ect Is Lvcivr. connective generation around the world. No One Belongs Here More Than You by Miranda July. scarcity. Deleuze and Guarrari's decisive move. In the 1990s. In their book Les passions tristes (The sad passions). Desire and Money Desire and money have a controversial relation. and misery. Time by Kim Ki Duk. In their account. and novels has revealed a growing fragility of the affective relation. as a creative activity. and nervous excitement up to the point of collapse. in that the future is no longer conceived as promise. bur as a threat. The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen. T he field of 108 /lre Upns1ng: On Poetry and F1nance desire has been invaded by anxiogenous flows: the acceleration of the infosphere has expanded expectations. Elephant by Gus Van Sant. The effect of fin ancial abstraction is the constant deterri torialization of desire. cinema. The literary and artistic phenomenology of the first decade of this century has told a story of creeping disease in the psychosphere. Anti-Oedipus. panic.desire takes a paradoxical turn and starts to produce need. When money takes the lead in the psychic investment of society-as in the aftermath of the neoliberal triumph. going back to their first collaboration. In the traps of advertising and consum erism.: a &YJy / 109 . the credit card system invested American desire. desire is dragged into a relation of dependence with the fi nancial machine. Money is about buying. The Social Network by David Fincher. opening the way to the deceptio n of boundless consumption. desire is about creating. depression. was to draw a conceptual distinction between desire and need. Desire should not be seen as a condition of scarcity. Who knows what the future holds? Over the last decade psychosocial research and the phenomenology of art. Miguel Benasayag and Gerard Schmit retrace their experience as psychoanalysts who have been working for many years in the banlieux of Paris among young people. and an increase in mental pathologies: attention deficit disorders. of manque. We Have a Pope by Nanni Moretti-to name just some of the books and films that seem to me to have grasped the innermost sentiment of the decade-all display a landscape of psychic breakdown. semiotic stimulation . and suicidal behavior have been rising in the collective experience of the new generation. rather. it has to be seen as an enhancer of vision.g rc. T he economic investment of desire was the original fo unt of the virtual economy in the 1990s. the very perception of the future has changed among the young banlieusards.

The financial class that dominates the contemporary scene has neither attachments to territory nor to material production. in the aftermath of financial capitalism's triumph. Lottery. linked to material assets. houses. 201 0). Bubbles grow. as it is everywhere. goods stored in warehouses. The modern bourgeoisie was a strongly territorialized class. You are debtor to a bank that is thriving thanks to your being deceived. You can use your credit card to its limit and beyond. When the prospects are uncertain. Deterritorialization becomes the perpetual condition of money and of desire. As the Italian psychoanalyst Massimo Recalcati has pointed out in L 'uomo senza inconscio (Man without unconscious. the financial investment of desire paves the way to dependency and misery. When the bourg goes global. of the city. betting on future revenues that will not arrive. on repression of the sexual drive and postponement of pleasure. infrastructure decay. is not linked to the actual enrichment of the territory.s•ng. the bourgeoisie disappears. in the finanical era the social unconscious explodes. then bust. The industrial bourgeoisie exploited workers with the goal of developing society. At the end of the bourgeois era. On Pcetr:f and F. and developed 110 Th:: Up·.roaC~ce society in order to extract surplus value from workers.2000 precipitated a short-circuiting of desire into panic and depression. This digital-financial The General Intellect Is Lookn1g tor a Body 1 111 . The bourgeois unconscious was based on the separation of work and desire. and bourgeois morality dissolves. The revenue of the financial class. Since September 2008. The financial ideology is thriving in the context of social precariousness. as money has taken the place of desire. net trading. Work and self-realization have to merge in the new economic vision: individuals have to become free agents. Americans have been suffering the backlash: unemployment. The well-being of workers was essential to the creation of a mass market and the thriving of bourgeois capitalism. you are invited to bet on the future. social spending cuts. because its power and wealth are founded on the total abstraction of a digitally multiplied finance. Transforming desire into need. of the bourg. Their wealth and prosperity were based on the ownership of physical assets: factories. There is no longer a distinction between life time and work time: all of your time has to be devoted to earning money. and the vast majority of people lose their money. they were a class acutely conscious of their relation with territory and community. desire invades the space of the market. and the market invades the space of desire. urban misery.these are the opportunities financial capitalism is offering everybody. risk-taking. on the contrary.

many thought that the virtual world was doomed to decay. the economic stake of a financial investment is negative. the firing of workers. One of the most important effects of the Internet in the economy has been the diffusion of online trading among young professionals and cognitive workers: this countless proliferation of investors ensures the impossibity of finding a relationship between personal responsibility and the social effects of an investment. Cognitarians. the Wired ideologues. The euphoric decade of C linton's imperial illusion gave way to a decade of infinite war. Actually. the overloading of collective attention. the dot-com crash marked an irreversible turn in the social relation between financial capital and cognitive work. You can bet on the closure of a factory. When the dot-com economy crashed in the first months of 2000. was envisioned as a long. as the accumulation of money is becoming completely abstracted from the actual creation of use-value. but the financial class does not want to recognize the failure. and the virtualization of social communication did not stop in 2000. and that crash opened the door to the disempowerment of cognitive labor. instead. The financial economy can act. the acceleration of the infosphere. and a dangerous doubling-down on neoliberal monetarist policies is being enforced everywhere around the world. This idea was based on the premise of the infinite potency of the net.~t Is Looi<lng for a Body I 113 . and is acting more and more. and suicide. destructive of concrete resources. and finally consigned to the role of a precarious work force. unending boom by Peter Schwartz and Peter Leyden. and an overuse of psychopharmaceutical stimulants were the psychic triggers of the dot-com/ Prozac crash. The new economy. as it was based on material resources that could be exhausted. the Internet is here to stay. because The General lntel•e. were disowned 11 2 1 The Uprising: On Poetry ancl F•nance and separated from financial power. The old economy-the economy of the old industrial times-was based on a premise of scarcity. The dismantling of the general intellect began in the agonies of the dot-com Prozac crash. infinite expansion. you can bet on the spread of a disease. The digital mobilization of desire. Because the net is an ever-expanding sphere of im material substance (information). global terror.hyperabstraction is liquidating both the living body of the planet and the social body. But in 2000. The financial collapse of 2008 is the predictable conclusion of this age of financial Ersatz. the death of people. who had been able to create enterprise. The ideology that fostered the Internet in the 1990s was based on a premise of infinite energy. infinite resources. More and more often. as a counterproductive force. things have turned out differently: the nonexistent world evoked by digital technology has not dissolved.

Love. suffering. and he owns a company that in only a few years has become well-known worldwide with five-hundred million subscribers.the whole sphere of emotionality is invested by the intensification of the rhythm of the infosphere. Friendship seems impossible for him. Mark Z uckerberg. biographical details in the film (for instance. Although the narrative concerns the beginnings of Facebook. and because the infinite potency of the networked collective intelligence is limited by the finitude of psychic energy. but the infinity of mental energy was an illusion. and the success of his website is granted by n·e G9n8ral lnte!lect Is Loo•mg fo· a B0d1• 1 115 . The main ch aracter of the film. the end of a love affair in the first scene of the movie) are not necessarily factual. because the physical resources of the planet are not boundless. may obviously be described as a winner: he is the youngest billionaire in the world. Nonetheless. friendship. The Social Network. the networked economy was expected to last forever and to provoke an everlasting expansion of market and value. and the ensuing legal conflicts and trials correspond to the real story. The dream of the networked economy's endless boom broke because psychic energy is not boundless. and he can be described as a loser if yo u consider his rela tionships with women and colleagues.intellectual productivity is not limited by material constraints. The attention market went into overload. loneliness. Only one of these premises was true: the net actually is an ever-expanding space. IMPOSSIBLE FRIENDSHIP (The Logic of Ersatz in Fincher's Facebook Movie) Financial capitalism and precarious work. resulting in a semiotic overproduction. affection. The wired ideology has proven false because the ideologues did not consider the limits of the subjective side of the econ omy. But the focus of the movie shifts to the psychological side of the evolution of the Internet. The story is about the creation and early diffusion of the social network Facebook. it is difficult to see him as a happy person. The exhaustibility of psychic resources is the intrinsic limit of the cybersphere. but are useful fo r a full understanding of the affective side of the social life of the cognitarian labor force. and the atrophy of empathy and sensibility: this is the subject of David Fincher's 114 I T11e Up:is1ng: On Poetry and F1nance excellent movie. about one enterprise in the age of finan cial semio-capitalism. in the context of the info-acceleration and stimulus-inten sification that broadband technology has made possible. And the global mind went crazy because individual brains and individual bodies are not capable of limitlessly going faster and faster and faster.

The movie presents an interesting perspective on life and work in the age of precarity. while profits are private. The genius of Zuckerberg essentially consists in his ability to exploit the suffering of the crowd. this virtual investment of desire is currently provoking a pathogenic fragilization of social solidarity and a stiffening of empathic feeling. Both labor and capital. It is hard to predict what sort of long-term mutation is underway in human evolution. The permanent mobilization of psychic energy in the economic sphere is simultaneously the cause and the effect of the virtualization of contact. ideas. but actually takes hold of their idea. Capital flows in the financial circuits. not epidermic perception of the sensuous presence of the other. Did Zuckerberg steal the idea from these two undergraduates? Yes and no. information. no longer have a stable relation to territory or community. As far as we know. in the infinite space of the image. in the network it's impossible to clearly distinguish the different moments of the valorization process. and enterprise is no longer based on territorialized material assets. virtual cognizability of the other. money. The origin al idea for the website came from two rich Harvard twins named Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss. infinite flight from one object to the next. The General Intellect Is Lool-ing for a Body 1 11 7 . The boundless enhancement of disembodied imagination leads to the virtualization of erotic experience. unstable. Desire is diverted from physical contact and invested in the abstract field of simulated seduction. Zuckerberg pretends to work for them. and it refers not only to the uncertainty of the labor relation. The very word "contact" comes to mean the exact opposite of contact: not bodily touch. but purely intellectual intentionaliry. bu t on signs.the artificial substitution (Ersatz) of friendship and love with standardized protocols. financial excitement: these are the perfect forms of this virtualization of desire. uncertain. the 116 / Th. because the productive force of the net is collective. Here we find the irremediable contradiction between the collective intelligence of the net and the private appropriation of its products. Actually. in fact. Value. Existential unhappiness and commercial success can be viewed as two sides of the same coin: Fincher's movie very skillfully interprets the psychological needs of Zuckerberg's generation by portraying loneliness and affective frustration as his intimate psycho-scape. shaking the very foundation of semio-capitalism. who wanted to hire Zuckerberg as a programmer. although he is much more capable than they are in terms of linking the project to the psychic needs arising from contemporary alienation. Uccs:nq: On Pceuy and F'nance miserable energies of collective loneliness and frustration. The word "precarious" means aleatory. but also to the fragmentation of time and the unceasing deterritorialization of the factors of social production.

Although Mark Z uckerberg is a billionaire. CONSPIRACY.nsral lnt51 1ectls Lc:::l-ing for a Booy I 119 . He no longer purchases the entire availability of the worker.knowledge. Industrial workers experienced solidarity because they met each other every day and were members of the same living community who shared the same interests. Z uckerberg does not hesitate to betray his only friend. Cognitive workers do not meet in the same place every day. who becomes the financer of the initial Facebook enterprise. Although the movie portrays a billionaire. In an old Italian theater. compatible with the protocols of interfunctionality. and the impossibility of building solidarity in a society that turns life into an abstract container of competing fragments of time. the way he 118 I The Upris1ng: On Pcetry and F1nance spends his work day is not dissimilar to the way his employees spend theirs. Loneliness and lack of human solidarity not only characterize the situation of the worker. Enterprise is no longer linked to terri tory and the work process is no longer based on a community of workers. some hundred people met for a collective mantra: an emission of harmonic sounds. living together in a factory day after day. T hey all sit in front of computers and type on keyboards. When the growth of the enterprise demands new financers. The border separating labor and enterprise is confused in the sphere of cognitive work. but remain alone in their networked cubicles. but also that of the entrepreneur. but is unfortunately also characteristic of relations between workers. and shared sound which lasts in time thanks to a n-e G~. while the Internet worker is alone and unable to create solidarity because everybody is obliged to compete in the labor market and in the daily fight for a precarious salary. it also tells the story of the social condition of labor: the impossibility of friendship in the present condition of the virtual abstraction of sociality. but instead takes the form of an ever-changing recombination of time fragments connected in the global network. The capitalist no longer signs agreements in order to exploit the productive energies of the worker during his overall working life. a fractal. and linguistic exchange. and recombinable with other fragments of time. He hires a fragment of available time. shared breathing. T his is not only characteristic of personal relations in the financial world. I happened to take part in an action of the Living T heater. AND SOLIDARITY Once upon a time. RESPIRATION. where they answer to the requests of ever-changing employers. T he main character of the movie-the Zuckerberg portrayed by Fincher-has only one friend : Edouard Severin.

we experience a growing pollution of air. C ultural flows-music and poetry. and social solidari ty. [. conflict. influencing psychic reactions. But there is another kind of pollution which concerns the psychic breathing of individual and collective organisms. the environment where info-stimulae circulate.. Concatenations 120 I The Upns. lung cancer. sensuous comprehension. the factory. Being available to conjunction. which sh ould be better understood. Principles of connection and heterogeneity: any point of a rhizome can be connected to anything other.vocal wave which goes from one mouth to the next. Sensibility is the ability of the human being to communicate what cannot be said with words. Physical organisms interact with the natural environment. Let's understand how singularities are linking in the social-psychic becoming. arudety.. In late-modern On Poetry and Finance between conscious and sensmve organisms can happen as conjunctive concatenations and also as connective concatenations. The phenomenon of linguistic communication has been widely studied by scholars. the social organism is open to affections. panic. and respiratory diseases. or obstruct and pollute. but also impoverish it.::tls L00'<'19 to· a Boo. There is another level of the concatenation. Psychic organisms also interact with the infosphere. verbal. Sensibility is also the faculty that allows us to enter into relation with entities not composed of our matter. and must be. and we know that the media can modifY and enrich it. Human beings conjoin thanks to their ability to linguistically and sensuously interact. Industrial fall out is provoking an increase in asthma. sensibili ty. conjunctive ability. or digital signs. with the city.· / 121 l . the air. Organisms meet. Sensibility is the ability to harmonize with the rhizome. The wisdom of the Hindu yogin conceives of individual breathing (atman) as a relation of the organism with cosmic breath (prana) and the physical surrounding environment. not speaking our language. fro m one body to the next. and food. Semiotic flows which are spread in the infosphere by the media system are polluting the psychosphere and provoking disharmony in the breathing of singularities: fear. water. interact in common space. and depression are the pathological symptoms of this kind of pollution. and not reducible to the communication of discreet. I want to elaborate on the mantra as a form of composing the insurgent movement. as well as psychotropic substances-can favor. Let's consider the social relation from the point of view of harmony and disharmony among breathing singularities. ] Collective assemblages of enunciation function directly wirhin machinic T~e Ge~eral lnte :e.

Whilst conjunction means becoming-other. Be. and in so doing generating something that was not there before." (Deleuze and Guattari 1987. connection means the functional interoperability of organisms previously reduced to compatible linguistic units. and the unpredictable concatenation of bodies. [. its cognitive system has to be reformatted. it is not impossible to make a radical break between regimes of signs and their objects. Each of these becomings brings about the dererritorializarion of one term and the reterrirorialization of the other. only an exploding of two heterogeneous series on the line of flight composed by a common rhizome that can no longer be attributed to or subjugated by anything signifying. Wasp and orchid. teleological . the two becomings interlink and form relays in a circulation 122 I Tha Ucrisw. Infoflows have to be accelerated.. Remy Chauvin expresses it well: "the apamllel evolution of two beings that have absolutely nothing to do with each other. The wasp is nevertheless dererritorialized. Rhizomatic thought replies: "Concatenate. There is neither imitation nor resemblance. "Be. the wasp and the orchid are not homogeneous. and connective capacity TI1e General Intellect Is Looking for a Bod:! 1 123 . The spreading of the connective modality in social life (the nerwork) creates the condition of an anthropological shift that we cannot yet fully understand. form a rhizome. Be!" is the metaphysical scream that dominates hierarchical thought. and expression. living. 7. a tracing of a wasp.. C oncatenate. But this does not prevent them from working together in the sense of becoming a concatenation (s'agencer). 10) Conjunction/Connection On the ontological. (Deleuze and G uattari 1987.10) of intensities pushing the deterritorialization ever further. decision. as heterogeneous elements. This shift involves a mutation of the conscious organism: in order to make the conscious organism compatible with the connective machine. or even the physical plane. becoming a piece in the orchid's reproductive apparatus. processing. They even belong to rwo different natural realms. But it reterritorializes the orchid by transporting irs pollen.. but the wasp reterritorializes on rhat image. Conscious and sensitive organisms are thus being subjected to a process of mutation that involves the faculties of attention.assemblages. Concatenate!" The principle of becoming lies in conjunctive concatenation: . a becoming-wasp of the orchid and a becomingorchid of the wasp.g: On Poelr>' and F1nance Conjunction and connection are rwo different modalities of social concatenation.. ) The orchid deterritorializes by forming an image.

Connection is the punctual and repeatable interaction of algorithmic functions. the context. a standard. straight lines. in order to comply with the recombinant technology of the global net. or perfection. segments must be linguistically compatible. In order for connection to be possible. and society. they become something other than what they were before their conjunction. Indeed."s'ng: On Poetry and F1nance insertion of the electronic in the organic. and an increasing desensitization in the exchange of signs. and a sort of sensitization to the code. the digital web extends through the progressive reduction of an increasing number of elements to a format.. communication. T he functionality of the materials that connect is implicit in the connection as a functional modeling that prepares them for interfacing and interoperabUity. and points that overlap perfectly. repetition. C onjunction is a becoming-other. Conjunction is the meeting and fusion of round and irregular shapes that are continuously weaseling their way about without precision. by tracing if necessary the intention. The process of change underway in our time is centered on the shift from conjunction to connection as the paradigm of exchange between conscious organisms. we should focus on the meaning of conjunction and connection. Love changes the lover and the combination of asignifying signs gives rise to the emergence of a previously nonexistent meaning. sudden changes of state. connection entails a simple effect of machinic functionality. Conjunction entails a semantic criterion of interpretation. the shade. who enters in conjunction with you. and a code that makes compatible different elements. sends signs whose meanings you must interpret. the body. But the effect of this change is a transformation of the relationship between consciousness and sensibility. Connection requires a prior process whereby the elements that need to connect are made compatible. and series of discrete signs. The shift from conjunction to connection as the predominant mode of interaction of conscious organisms is a consequence of the gradual digitalization of signs and the increasing mediatization of relations. and plug in or out according to discrete modes of interaction that render the different parts compatible to a preestablished standard. In order to understand the present anthropological shift.has to be empowered. the continuous process of gradual becoming. The other.the proliferation of artificial devices in the organic universe. In contrast. Rather than a fusion of segments. with connection each element remains distinct and interacts only functionally. Singularities change when they conjoin. The General Intellect Is Lcc"'ng for a Bc(iy I 125 . the unsaid. The digitalization of communicative processes induces a sort of desensitization to the curve. The leading factor of this change is the 124 I Tt1e Ur.

Sensibility slows interpretation procedures. panic and depression. ambiguous. seem s to follow from a disturbance of the aesthesia. anxiety and apathy. in fact. and eventually made the creation of a digital web possible. Sensibility-i. Composition and Recombination When I say composition . the conscious and sensitive organism starts to suppress to a certain degree what we call sensibility. However. we should displace our attention toward the aes thetic fleld. I mean a form of shared respiration: cospiration. growing together. But if you extend the syntactic method of interpretation to human beings.e. This mutation is actually producing painful effects on the conscious organism. The gradual translation of semantic differences into syntactic differences is the process that led from modern scientific rationalism to cybernetics. But if we want to understand the disturbance in the ethical sphere. in my opinion. conjoined expectations.Connection requires a criterion of interpretation that is purely syntactic. conspiracy. malcing decodiflcation aleatory. there can be no margins for ambiguity in the exchange of messages. coalescing lifestyles. When the relation between social components (individuals) is predominantly recombinant. the social organism stiffens and gets frail: solidari ty becomes difficult. The ethical disorder. pathological description does not grasp the deep meaning of the question. The interpreter must recognize a sequence and be able to carry out the operation foreseen by the "general syntax" (or operating system). the ability to interpret and understand what cannot be expressed in verbal or 126 I Tile Uprising: On Poetry and Finance digital signs-can be useless and also dangerous in an integrated system of connective nature. The Ge'1erallnte'tect Is L•:-okong for a B<Xi)' I 127 . and these effects can be interpreted with the categories of psychopathology: dyslexia. and thus reducing the competitive efficiency of the semiotic agent. is the conscious organism's attempt to adapt to a changing environment. and uncertain. nor can the intention be manifest though nuances. the core of the cognitive reformatting that is underway. the inability to ethically manage individual and collective life. the perception of the other and of the self. The ethical dimension is involved in this process: a sort of ethical insensibility seems to mark the behavior of the humans of the last generation. When I say recombination. What is more important. In order to efficiently interact with the connective environment. I mean compatibility and functional operativity. This is.. a cognitive and psychic mutation is underway.

' I 129 . through to Bin Laden's audio-taped messages. In his book Sonic Warfare: Sound. precarity has provoked a process of desolidarization and disaggregation of the social composition of work. and the Ecology of Fear (20 10) . ll1e GE'r~erallntel•ect Is Lwking tc. Rock and punk music have inherited the knack for mechanical rhythm. the techniques of sonic warfare have now percolated into the everyday. Because of the introduction of the connective principle in social communication.Social solidarity is not an ethical or ideological value: it depends on the continuousness of the relation between individuals in time and in space. and functional recombination happens on impersonal ground. and desire is driven simultaneously in countless directions. although in the end they turn this gift into rage against the machine.g: On Pcshy and Fonan:e sympathize weakens. Financial capitalism is deterritorialized and virtual. Rhythm and Refrain Late-modern rhythm has been scanned by the ordered noise of the machine. the ability to 128 I The UDns. submitted to the accelerating rhythms of the virtual machine: the fractal fragmentation of labor is parallel and complementary to the fractalization of financial capital. in the frigid orgy of pornography. Affect. Guattari speaks of ritournelle. Disempathy is the consequence of this disharmonization of social communication. The communist conspiracy. The material foundation of solidarity is the perception of the continuity of the body in the body. and acts as a constant recombination of virtual fragments of abstract ownership. 5) In order to describe the relation between the surrounding soundscape and the traces of singularity. was the psychic and cultural energy that made solidarity possible inside the social body of the industrial worker class. and the immediate understanding of the consistency of my interest and your interest. while virtualization makes the social body frail at the level of affection. The sexuality of the fractal body is exposed in the form of panic. (Goodman 2002. notwithstanding the authoritarian reality of communist realizations. collective breath is fragmented. Virtualization has been a complementary cause of desolidarization: precarization makes the social body frail at the level of work. or refrain. for instance. Steve Goodman describes the rhythmic aggression against social life: From Hitler's use of the loudspeaker as a mechanism for affective mobilization during World War II. Since the 1980s.-.r a Bxi. Inside the precarious conditions of labor.

a time of generalized equivalence. At the chaosmotic level. poetic. a movement) to receive and project the world according to reproducible and communicable formats. coordination between heterogeneous space-times. and we call them refrains. a nation. a "flattened" capitalistic time. acceleration of the semiotic exchange. and social movements each have their special rhythm. every group.A child singing in the night because it is afraid of the dark seeks to regain control of events that deterritorialized too quickly for her liking and started to proliferate on the side of the cosmos and the Imaginary. the refrain of salary. (Guattari 20 11 . a communication of milieus. every nation is thus "equipped" with a basic range of incantatory refrains. 345) Rhythm is the relation of a subjective flow of signs (musical. The refrain is the modality of semiotization that allows an individual (a group. The digital transition has brought along with it new refrains: electronic fragmentation. Chaos is not the opposite of rhythm. rituals. (Guattari 1995. Rhythm is everywhere in social life. (Deleuze and Guattari 1987. a people. The perception of time by a society is shaped by social refrains. information overload. and molecular universe to be filtered through individual perception. The essential feature of refrain is rhythm. 107) The refrain is an obsessive ritual that allows the individual. and to te rritorialize herself and to represent herself in relation to the surrounding world. fractalization of time. Every individual. a subculture. but the milieu of all milieus. gestual signs) with the environment: the cosmic environment. 16) 130 I T11e Upns. social environment.the conscious organism in continuous variation-to find identification points. earthly environment. From this perspective. war. In order for the cosmic. semiotic filters must act. Work. rhythm is the concatenation between breathing and the surrounding The General intellect Is LcoJJng fer a Body / 131 .ng: On Poetry and Finance T he m ain cultural transformation of modern capitalism has been the creation of refrains of temporal perception that pervade and discipline society: the refrain of factory work. the refrain of the assembly line. T here is rhythm whenever there is a transcoded passage from one milieu to another. social. competition. universal time appears to be no more than a hypothetical projection. and rhythm is a special configuration of the relation between singular refrain and universal chaos.

as solidarity resurfaces in daily life. as in Rome on October 15th.. For too long has financial dictatorship compressed the social body. These should 132 I n<e Upnsing: On Pc-et:y and F1nance Tr. this agencement between singularity and environment.. Nevertheless. At the social level. It is useless to preach a sermon to those who can only express their revolt in a violent way. we should not condemn these acts as criminal. stronger and stronger. What we should be able to communicate to the rioters. and dots: these words should not be used in a militaristic sense. The uprising is not a form of judgment. no t as a judge. . The uprising will frequently give way to phenomena of psychopathic violence. not surprise us. The medic does not judge. and the task of the movement is to act as a medic. as a form of therapy on the disempathetic pathologies crossing the social skin and social soul. Upheaval. but a form of healing. rhythm is the relation between the body and the social concatenation of language. The organization of violent actions by the anticapitalist movement would not be smart.. repetitions of gestures and signs that simultaneously express the singular mode and the relation between the agency and the environment. as in England in August 2011. In Guattari's parlance. we'll be witness to massive explosions of precarious rage and violence. The uprising is a therapy for this ki nd of psychopathology. the looters. L :i' . as violence is a pathological demonstration of impotence when power is protected by armies of professional killers. as an attempt to reactivate the conjunctive body. Mantra The uprising agai nst financial capitalism that began in the European countries in 20 11 can be seen as a mantra. refrain is the only way of creating this concatenation.universe. the black bloc. insurrection. And this healing is made possible by a mantra that rises. and the cynicism of the ruling class has become repugnant. but heals.. and the casseurs is a truth that we have to build together and to spread: that a collective mantra chanted by millions of people will tear down the walls of Jericho much better than a pickaxe or a bomb. uprising. The social environment is marked by refrains.e General Intellect Is Lcoking ror il Bo-:11 1 133 •.

They are nothing but symbols. brokers. economics is a neurosis of money. ] Thus economics shares the language of psychopathology. to work. economics falsely imitates science. slumps and peaks. a symptom 134 concrived to hold the beast in abeyance [. but they have the power of persuading human beings to act. but more deeply on the autonomization of value production from the physical interaction of things. giving money the power of some sacred deity. Numbers cannot make the beast lie down and be quiet or sit up and do tricks. and the economy remains caught in manipulations of acting stimulated or depressed. financiers. bankruptcy has been declared. in every other value. l -2) Financial capitalism is based on the autonomization of the dynamics of money. all assisted by lawyers. Baudrillard writes: "need. 30) Poetry and F1nanca I 135 . flatus vocis.. and the referent 'do not exist.. investmencs and losses. Economists. At best. reciting their prayers to make rhe power of money work without imagination." (Baudrillard 1975. demanding to be recognized. drawing attencion to itself. use value. Economics no longer persuades money to behave. In The Mirror of Production. accountants. Money makes things happen. inflation. as we suspected all along. are the priests of the cuit of money. to transform physical things. The passage from the industrial abstraction of work to the digital abstraction of world implies an immaterialization of the labor process. depression. (Sardello 1983. egotistically unaware of irs own soul. Jean Baudrillard has proposed a general semiology of simulation based on the premise of the end of referentiality. It is the source of action in the world and perhaps the only power we invest in. conventions.4 POETRY A ND FIN ANCE EMANCIPATION OF THE SIGN : POETRY AND FINANCE IN THE TWENTIETH CENTURY Money and language have something in common: they are nothing and they move everything. lows and heights. Perhaps in every other respect. Thus. in the economic as well as in the linguistic field.' T hey are only concepts produced and projected into a generic dimension by the developmen t of the very system of exchange value.

Language. the dephysicalization of money is part of the general process of abstraction which is the all-encompassing tendency of capitalism. rransferential. The matter of electric money does not matter.The process of the auronomization of money is a particular level of this general trend. Concrete usefulness does not matter from the point of view of valorization. Value rules according to rhe indiscernible order of generation by means of Pcetry and Rn~nce I 137 . indeterminate and floating machines of the unconscious respond to the aleatory machines of the code[ . The rational. Marx's theory of value is based on the concept of abstract work: because it is the source and the measure of value. nonreferential. With the advent of electronic fund-transfers the link between inscription and 136 I The Upristng: On PoetJY and Ftnance substance was broken. historical and functional machines of consciousness correspond ro indusuial machines. and metal or elecrrum. This is true of the unconscious as it is of money and theories. according to Marc Shell in Money. work has to sever its relation to the concrete usefulness of its activity and product. was supposed to make no difference in exchange. (Shell 1982. I) As I've already said. ] The systemic strategy is merely ro invoke a number of floating values in this hyperreality. Between rhe elecrrum money of ancient Lydia and rhe electric money of contemporary America there occurred a historically momentous change. The aleatory. The even tual development of coins whose politically authorized inscript ions were inadequate ro rhe weights and purities of rhe ingots into which the inscriptions were stamped precipitated awareness of quandries about the relationship between face value (intellectual currency) and substantial value (material currency). Baudrillard speaks of the relation between signification and language in the same vein. was connected with those inscriptions in increasingly abstract ways. The exchange value of the earliest coins derived wholly from the material substance (elecrrum) of rhe ingots of which rhe coins were made and nor from rhe inscriptions stamped into these ingots.. rhe material substance to which the inscriptions referred. the marerial substance on which the inscriptions were printed. The abstraction process at the core of the capitalist capture (subsumption) of work implies abstraction from the need for the concreteness of products: the referent is erased. and Thought. but it also has a long history. Paper. referential.. This difference between inscription and thing grew greater with the introduction of paper moneys.

not truth value. their destinies do not coincide. But the analogy between economy and language should not mislead us: although m oney and language have something in common. Pragmatics.s. A revolution has put an end to this "classical" economics of value. In the following pages I want to retrace the evolution of poetry in the passage from romantic realism to symbolist transrealism. in the sphere of communication. language is traded and valued as something chat is performed. which were thought to be coherent and eternally bound as if by a natural law. (Baudrillard 1993. Referential value is annihilated. the PQt. giving the stmctural play of value the upper hand. as language exceeds economic exchange.. The emancipation of the sign. starting from the emancipation of the word from its referential task. the prevailing tendency in literature and art as in science and in policies. according to the infin ite chains of simulation. Effectiveness. On Poetr. from referential to nonreferen tial signification.. 6-7) The emancipation of the sign from the referential function may be seen as the general trend of late Modernity. 1993. they do so on condition that they are no longer exchanged against the real).ng. Baudrillard speaks of the emancipation of the sign. In the sphere of the market. 138 1 rne Upr. particularly in the age of new media. not hermeneutics. is the rule of language in the sphere of communication. (Baudrillard. Sim ilarly. which carries value beyond its commodity form into its radical form . a revolution of value itself. 3) The structu ral dimension becomes autonomous by excluding the referential dimension. Poetry is the language of nonexchangeability. things are not considered from the point of view of their concrete usefulness. Symbolism opened a new space for poetic praxis. and Rnance now on. and is instituted upon the death of reference [. is the methodology for understanding social communication.iry ano Fonance 139 . The emancipation of money-the financial sign-from the industrial production of things follows the same semiotic procedure.models. This revolution consists in the dislocation of the rwo aspects of the law of value. ] from The crucial point of Baudrillard's critique is that referentiality and the (in)determination ofvalue has come to an end. Retracing the process of dereferentialization in both semiotics and economics. signs are exchanged against each other rather than against the real (it is not that they just happen to be exchanged with each other. but from chat of their exchangeability and exchange value.

cognitive labor was disempowered and subjected to precarization. on the virtualization of social relations. who never Could achieve fulfillment here. The social and affective body of the cognitive workers has been separated from their daily activity of production. T his is the affective character of the first generation of people who have learned more words fro m a machine than from the mother. T he insurrection against financial capitalism is aimed to recompose the social and affective body. The n ew alienation takes the form of psychic suffering. but as the beginnings of a long-las ting process that will encompass the next d ecade: a cognitaria n insurrection of sorts. and there On some ineffable carpet. T he student struggles that have exploded in Europe since the fall of 20 10 should n ot be seen as sudden outbursts of rage. their pyramid That long since. I'm talking about poetry here as an excess of language. panic. The new alienation is based on this separation . Ever-hidden. . Insurrection means a rising up.. could show Their bold lofty figures of heart-swings. a hidden resource which enables us to shift from one paradigm to another. Were cremblingly propped cogether-<:<>uld succeed Before the spectators around them. . depression. the potencies of knowledge. the innumerable silent dead: Would not these then throw their last. . A PLACE WE DO NOT KNOW Angel.-w. During the first decade of the new century. eternally Valid coins of happiness Before their pair with the finally genuine smile On the assuaged carpet? . the lovers. and a suicidal tide. reduced to the narrow dogmatic utilization that the capitalist economy is forcing on them. "Fifth Elegy" (Translated by C. Their towers of ecstasy. if there were a place we do nor know. Since 2001 we have witnessed a dismantling of the general intellect that started after the dot-com crash in the spring of 2000. The actor that is appearing on the historical scene today is the general intellect in its process of subjectivation.return of infinite hermeneutics. and also implies the full deployment of the potencies of the actor._• ' . where there was no standing-ground. . and the return of rhe sensuous body of language.E Macintyre) The reactivation of the social body is the precondition for the full d eployment of th e general intellect. Pcetry and F1nance I 141 *~}·. The potencies of this actor are the potencies of collective intelligence in the network.Rainer Maria Rilke. 140 1 The Upnsing: On Poetry and F1nance . ever-hoarded. unknown to us.

is the lesson Wikileaks has to offer. Social time is transformed into a sprawl of fractals. beyond the remarkable effect that Wikileaks has had in the field of diplomacy and politics and war. Many interesting things have come out from the disclosures. art and therapy and political action have to all be gathered. In the sphere of precarious work. hardware technicians. T he activation of the potency of this connected intelligence. capitalist rule will become obsolete. so that desire may begin flowing again. the social and erotic body of the cognitarians is finding rhythm and empathy. This is the new consciousness that comes from the explosion of the last months of2010. Actually. and it has been a victim of the precarization and fractalization of time. and that soldiers are paid for killing civilians. are finding new modes of expression. and artists who all take part in an 142 / n. autonomously from its capitalist properly conceived of as the realm of sensibiliry and Poetry and F•nance I 143 . Bodily sensibiliry. In order to reactivate sensibiliry. What is more important concerning this event is the activation of solidariry. journalists. we already knew that diplomats are paid to lie. blurred and stressed by precariry and competition. And the new generation of rebels will find in this lesson a way to the autonomization and selforganization of the general intellect. I don't think that we really needed to know the contents of all those cables and e-mails that Wikileaks disclosed. and obviously in the field of information? Wikileaks has displayed the infinite potency of the collective networked intelligence.e Upris:ng: On Poetry ancl Finance informational process. Connection and Sensibility Sensibiliry is the abiliry to understand what cannot be verbalized. the Wikileaks event has exposed the other face of cognitarian subjectivation. compliciry. What is its meaning. In street demonstrations. The unleashing of the creative force of the general intellect is the momentous event that Julian Assange has been able to orchestrate. The main stake of street actions is the reactivation of the body of the general intellect. and independent collaboration between cognitarians that it represents: between programmers. Aesthetic perception. When general intellect will be able to reconstitute its social and erotic body.The full deployment of the general intellect falls beyond the sphere of capitalism. from the reclamation of knowledge's autonomy. compatible fragments that can be recombined by the networked machine: this is why I speak of the fractalization of time. time has been fragmented and depersonalized. but this is not my focus here. In the same period of the student revolt.

Actually. T his faculty reveals itself to be useless and even damaging in an integrated connective system. On PcetrJ ar.nan:e I 145 . nature. artificial. the ability to understand what cannot be expressed in forms that have a finite syntax. and we need time to understand the hypercomplex communication of the body. aesthetics has much to do with the modern psychopathology of contact. It is both an organic and inorganic continuum. Rhythm is the common substance of signs (word.direcrly involved in the technological transformation of communication and work: in its attempt to efficiently interface with the connective environment. Guattari views the universe as a continuum of diverse and interrelated entities in bodily contact with each other. Due to the acceleration of the inforhythm. electromagnetic. and informational flows. terrestrial. vision) and the brain. or social world) thanks to rhythmic concatenation. precarious workers are obliged to detect and interpret signs ar an ever-accelerating pace. the sensitive surface of our body-mind) and different chemical. mental and electronic. I mean the facul ty that enables human beings to interpret signs rhar are nor verbal nor can be made so. because sensibility tends to slow down the processes of interpretation. An environmental consciousness adequate ro the technological complexity of hypermodernity. Poetry and F. aesthetics is the science dedicated to the study of the contact between the derma (the skin. electronic. By sensibility. Sensibility is in rime. semiotic markers of rhythm. G uatrari speaks of rhe "aesthetic paradigm. and affective environ ments can 144 I Tile Unnsng." T his concept redefines rhe historical and social perspective. physical. we have ro think in terms of the refrain. social. and their sensibility is disturbed. animal and machinic. and the concatenation is made possible by ritournelles. ecosophy is based on the acknowledgment of the crucial role of aesthetics in the prospect of ecology. If we want to think through the relation between art and {schizo) therapy. with the pathological effects of the acceleration of the info-flow and the precarizarion of social existence. making them ambiguous and downgrading the competitive efficiency of rhe semiotic agent. Cosmic. T his is why therapy is increasingly involved in the political field of reactivating the social body and recomposing work in a process of subjecrivarion. and ir is fully integrated into the vision of ecosophy. in our sensitive and sensible brains. music. The mind hooks onto the other (the other mind. In his book Chaosmosis. Therefore. the conscious organism appears to increasingly inhibit what we call sensibility.::l Finance be grasped and internalized thanks to refrains that we have in our minds. Guattari says that rhe refrain is a semiotic concatenation (agencement) that is able to larch onto the environment.

the place where: Poehy ana Ftnance I 14 7 146 1 The Upris. and simultaneously postponed and deceived. This vibration can create resonances. Now it is advertised and promised. ~·. Once upon a time. and living. refrains of the singularization and sensibilization of breathing. and panic is the premise to depression. T he singularity of the voice and the singularity of words are subjected to the homogenization of exchange and valorization. conscious organisms have to adapt to the digital environment. producing. of promises that are never fulfilled and always postponed. and tech nolinguistic devices act as the communicative matrix. acceleration is the trigger for panic.' -~ ' • . Singularity is forgotten. This is the pornographic feature of semio-production in the sphere of the market. In order to accelerate the circulation of value. Poetry is a singular vibration of the voice. the century that trusted in the On Poetry and Ftnance . Poetry opens the doors of perception to singularity. But language and information do not overlap. The cult of energy marked the artistic zeitgeist. the social mind.In the past century. Futurism defined the relation between art. meaning is reduced to information. and language cannot be resolved in exchangeability. pleasure was repressed by power. erased. Futurist rhythm was the rhythm of info-acceleration. Now we need refrains that disentangle singular existence from the social game of competition and productivity: refrains of psychic and sensitive autonomization. such that language can escape from th e matrix and reinvent a social sphere of singular vibrations intermingling and projecting a new space for sharing. we may say that the infinity of the parole exceeds the recombinant logic of the langue. and resonances may produce common space. and cancelled in the erotic domain of semio-capitalism. of shared meaning: the creation of a new world. T he eye has taken the central place of human sensory life. up to the saturation of collective perception and the paralysis of empathy. but gives way to a new common ground of understanding. but this ocular domination is a domination of merchandise. art was essentially involved in the business of acceleration. once unchained from the congested pace of the immaterial assembly line of semio-capitalist production. In Ferdinand de Saussure's parlance. t. and social life. and is not exchangeable. In the current conditions of capitalist competition. i•' . Poetry is language's excess: poetry is what in language cannot be reduced to information. Social communication is submitted to technolinguistic interfaces: in order to exchange meaning in the sphere of connectivity. of violence and war. The matrix takes the place of the mother in the process of generating language.

and Zuccotti Park in New York City.lovers. Vagrants But tell me. Viktor Shklovsky." toss their last ever-hoarded. Their towers of ecstasy. their pyramid that long since. and as an annunciation of a place that we don't know. that we have never experienced: a place of the city. the Russian formalist theorist. an apartment where suddenly lovers. who are these vagrants. a square. Stuck there like a plaster. as sensibility is the faculty that makes possible the singularity of the enunciation and the singularity of the understanding of a noncodified enunciation.11 These verses can be read simultaneously as a metaphor for the condition of precarity. says that the specificity of literary language lies in the ability to treat words according to an unrepeatable singular procedure. who here (in the kingdom of valorization and exchange) never "could achieve fulfillment. 148 1 The Up•is ng: On Poetry a'ld Finat1::e There is no secret meaning in these words. these even a little More transitory than we. It is the place that will be able to warm the sensible sphere that has been deprived of the joy of singularity. but we can read in these verses a description of the frail architectures of collective happiness: "Their towers of ecstasy. could show Their bold lofty figures of heart-swings." verses 1. who never Could achieve fulfillment here. More slippery air they come down On the carpet worn thinner by their eternal leaping. in a landscape that has been deserted. slings them and swings them. as if from an oily. Bends them. Throws them and catches them. these from the start Violently wrung (and for whose sake?) By a never-appeasable will? But it wrings them. a street. -Rilke: "Fifth Elegy. in a social environment that has been impoverished by social precariousness. Plaza do Sol in Madrid. unknownto us-eternally valid coins of happiness. where movements are gathering: Tahrir square in Cairo. It is the place of occupation." This place we don't know is the place we are looking for. where there was no standing-ground were tremblingly propped together. it is the semiotic concatenation that creates new pathways of signification and opens the way to a reactivation of the relation between sensibility and time. We call poetry the semiotic concatenation that exceeds the sphere of exchange and the codified correspondence of the signifier and signified. that in Russian he calls priem: an artificial treatment of verbal matter generating Poetry and F1Pance / 149 . ever hidden. as if the sky Of the suburb had hurt the earth. This carpet lost in the universe.

as they act to create spheres of singularity at the aesthetic and existential levels. as it simultaneously creates the aesthetic conditions for the perception and expression of new modes of becoming. 204-205) . "Art is not chaos. and con- 150 1 The Upros•ng: On Poetry and F1nar. "bur a composition of chaos that yields the vision or sensation. G uarrari speaks of the new modes of the submission and standardization ofsubjecti~ity produced by network technologies and by neol1beral globalization. so that it constitutes. In the process of singularization that the movement makes possible. art is acting differently in two ways: it represents a diagnostic of the infospheric pollution of the psychosphere. he writes: Subjectivity is standardized thro ugh a communication wh ich evacuates as m uch as possible trans-semiotic and am odal en unciative compositions. need. Changing the order of expectations is one of the main social transformations that a movement can produce: this change implies a cultural transformation but also a change in sensitivity. and by the saturation of attention and the conscious sensitive sphere of subjectivity. and helping to create an autonomous collective sphere.ce sumption can be semiotized again. Poetry is the language of the m ovement as it tries to deploy a new refrain. according to a new system of world expectations. but also a therapy treating the disturbed organism. in Russian) that carries the word far and away from its common use. he tries to flnd new pathways to autonomous subjectivation. T he relation between the organism and the environment is disturbed by the acceleration of info-stimula in the infosphere. Simultaneously.c'" 151 . Art is recording and detecting this dissonance. Social movements can be described as a form of refrain: movements are the refrain of singularization. as Joyce says. Poetical procedure is a form of enstrangement (ostranenie. Thus it slips towards the p rogressive Poetry a• •0 Finar. Insurrection is a refrain helping to withdraw the psychic energies of society from the standardized rhythm of compulsory competition-consumerism. As far as concerns the fl rst side of rhe problem. a chaosmos" (Deleuze and Guarrari 1994.effects of meaning never seen and codified before. The Limits of the World In the chapter of Chaosmosis that is dedicated to the aesthetic paradigm. Relative to schizoanalysis. by semiotic inflation. in the opening of the organism to the world and to the others." say Deleuze and G uattari in What Is Philosophy?. production. The refrain is the sensitive niche where we can create cosmos elaborating chaos.

T he ambiguity of the info-rhizomatic terri tory is crystal clear: info. In a way. without eve r arriving at the ultimate tangent of a being-matter which recedes everywhere and. and voice. An initial chaosmic folding consists in making the powers of chaos co-exist with those of the highest complexity. mimicry and posture. prosody. and tends to produce a language that is subj ected to the linguistic machinery. they never stop diving into an umbilical chaotic zone where they lose their extrinsic references and coordinates. where limits always loom up behind limits. but from where they re-emerge invested with new charges of complexity. (Guanari 1995. a simulacrum of the imaginary of power. While analyzing the standardization of language. On Peevy and Finance Poetry and Finance I 153 •· . constraints behind constraints. 104-5) Digital technology is canceling the singular enunciative composition of polysemy. Universes of infinite speed where being can't be denied anymore. has the job of overcoding all the other Universes of value. H e is mapping the territory of the informational rhizome. • : . It is by a continuous comingand-going at an infinite speed that the multiplicities of entities differentiate into ontologically heterogeneous complexions and become chaotised in abo lishing their figural diversity and by homogenising themselves within the same beingnon-being.111) Guattari here questions the relation between the finite and infinite in the sphere of language. between a finite world of reduced speed.effacement of polysemy. the capitalist is standardizing subjectivity and 152 1 The Upns. 110. ~- .. on the one hand. in its heterogeneous qualities. at this point of negotiation between complexity and chaos. The machine. In this type of deterritorialised assemblage. Guattari simultaneously looks for a line of escape from the informational submission (assujettissement). Thus one oscillates. In its extreme contemporary forms it amounts to an exchange of information tokens calculable as bits and reproducible on computers. gesture. where it gives itself in its intrinsic d ifferences. every species of machine. (Guattari 1995. It is during this chaosmic folding that an interface is installed-an interface between the sensible fi nitude of existential Territories and the trans-sensible infinitude of th e Universe of referen ce bound to on the other h and. systems of coordinates behind other systems of coordinates. to the profit of a language rigorously subjected to scriptural machines and their mass meclia avatars. is always at the junction of the finite and infinite. gesture. & r r. that was not yet completely discovered when Chaosmosis was wri tten.

. Guattari rethinks the question of singularity in terms of sensitive finitude and the possible infinity of language. realizing the anrioedipal. breaking our ties with expectations of infinite growth. and infinite expansion of the sel£ I n the preface to his Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus. philosophy. and psychoanalysis [ . the disaster of acceleration and panic. But simultaneously we have to look for a rhythm which may open a further landscap. We cannot think Po'"try and F1nanr:e I 155 . In the chapter on aesthetic paradigm in Chaosmosis. We are on rhe threshold of a deterrirorialized and rhizomaric world. 161) The finitude of the conscious and sensitive organism is the place where we imagine pro jectio ns of 154 1 Tl1e Upris1ng: On Pc etr1 and Finan:." For that would appear ro presuppose that we were excluding certain possibilities. . the living individuality walking towards extinction. Wirrgenstein writes: "in order to draw a limit to thinking we should have to be able ro think both sides of this limit (we should therefore have to be able to think what cannot be thought)." (Wirrgensrein 1922. and this cannot be the case. "The world has this in it. infinte consumption. 27) And he also writes: The lim irs of my language mean the limits of my world.e. a landscape beyond panic and beyond the precanous affects of loneliness and despair. We are tracing here the dynamic of a disaster. but also a potentiality of life. for only in that way could it view those limits from the other side as well. inscribing techno-linguistic interfaces which automatize enunciation.e infinity which are not only virtual. since it would require that logic should go beyond the limits of the world. So we cannot say in logic. . is finite. bur nor that. and that can be actualized in situations. and this. T he conscious and sensitive orgamsm. On this threshold we have to imagine a politics and an ethics of singularity. the disaster that capitalism is inserting into hypermodern subjectivity.language. (G uattari 1995. schizoform dream. Bur this dream is becoming true in the form of a global nightmare of financial derealization. Logic pervades the world: the limits of the world are also its limits. Desire is the field of this tendency of the finite towards a becoming-infinite. circumventing or dissociating oneself from the Universals itemised by traditional arts.] a new love of the unknown . But the creation of possible universes of meaning is infinite... To produce new infinities from a submersion in sensible finitude. infinities not only charged with virtuali ty but with potentialities actualisable in given situations.

Guattari calls "chaosmosis" the process of going beyond the limits of the world. and he calls this going beyond resemiotization: i. Only an act of language escaping the technical automatisms of financial capitalism will make possible the emergence of a new life form." When W ittgenstein says that the limits of language are the limits of the world. 68) And finally. so what we cannot think we cannot say either. Only an act of language can give us the ability to see and to create a new human condition." The potency and extension of language depends on the consistency of the subject. Only the reactivation of the body of the general intellect. And the extension of my world depends on the potency of my language. on his or her situation. where we now only see barbarianism and violence. rather it is a limit of the world. he writes: "The subject does not belong to the world: rather.nance of the semiotic limit. In fact. it will be possible to generate a degree of complexity Pcetry ano F. existen tial. But he is also saying that. historical finitude that embodies the potency of the general intellect-will be able to imagine new infinities. we cannot experience. First. Scientists call this effect of auropoietic morphogenesis "emergence": a new form emerges and takes shape when logical linguistic conditions make it possible to see it and to name it. he is saying: what we cannot say we cannot do.narce 1 157 .what we cannot think.e. he is saying something that should be read in two different ways.. what therefore lies beyond the limits of language will only be able to be lived and experienced once our language is able to elaborate that sphere of Being that lies beyond the present limit. of conscious organized voluntary action. the philosopher writes: "the subject does not belong to the world. Let's try to understand our present situation from this point of view. the social and instinctual body that the general intellect is deprived of inside the present conditions of financial dictatorship. In the intersection of the finite and infinite. on his or her vision.the organic. (Wittgenstein 1922. Digital fin ancial cap italism has created a closed reality which cannot be overcome with the techniques of politics. because only in the sphere of language can we interact with the reality of Being. because the world is what resides within the limits of our language. in the point of negotiation between complexity and chaos. which is also the limit of the experimentability of the world. we cannot live. a redefinition 156 / The Upnsu1g: On Poetry and F. The new form of life will be the social and instinctual body of the general intellect. and of government. it is a limit of the world.

the signifier disentangled from the limits of the signified. and conformist subjugation to those in power. lies at the core of contemporary cynicism. and defines their thought as a practice of telling the truth (parrhesia). logic. and disdain for power-and our own. Grammar. 158 / Tn"' Up~151ng: 0:1 Poetry and Finance ~ social movement. which consists largely of lip service. Nevertheless. Today the economy is the universal grammar traversing the different levels of human activity. An intimate lie. Language is defined and limited by its economic exchangeability: this effects a reduction of language to information. is the infinite game that words play to create and to skip and to shuffle meaning. Poetry is the reopening of the indefinite. individualism. and ethics are based on the institution of a limit. Still. the contradiction between speech and belief. the ethical form of the excessive power of language. This consistency lies in an awareness of the ambiguous nature of language. and action from the limits of the symbolic debt. the word cynicism has acquired a totally different meaning. and an ability to suspend the Poetry ancl Finance 1 159 . the ironic act of exceeding the established meaning of words. a transcription of lectures delivered at the College de France in 1984. behavior. but the exercise of language happens in finite conditions of history and existence. Twenty-five years later. Thanks to the establishment of a limit. there remains a kind of consistency between the ancient notion of cynicism-rigorous truthfulness. almost the opposite: the cynic is someone who routinely lies to everyone. the world comes into existence as a world of language. while social communication is a limited process. grammar is the establishment of limits defining a space of communication. should use Irony as semiotic insolvency. Irony. Michel Foucault speaks of Diogenes and the other ancient philosophers known as cynics. as a mechanism of disentangling language. an incorporation of technolinguistic automatisms into the social circulation of language. ascetic behavior. But infinity remains unmeasurable. at the end of the day. Language has an infinite potency. IRONY AND CYNICISM Mass Zynismus In his book The Courage of Truth.greater than the degree of complexity that financial capitalism is able to manage and elaborate. moral unreliability. Poetry is language's excess. language is boundless: its potentiality is not limited to the limits of the signified. especially to him or herself. In every sphere of human action.

Peter Sloterdijk argues that cynicism is the prevailing mindset throughout the post-'68 era. but irony. Bill Harford (played by Tom Cruise) in Eyes Wide Shut is still able to recognize misdeeds and 160 1 n. zynismus seems to be the only accepted language. no one will listen to you. He has the strength and courage to oppose evil because he thinks that evil can be stopped and defeated. use two different words to distinguish the ancient Greek cynicism discussed by Foucault and our own: kynismus and zynismus. who fights the cowardice of military power in Paths of Gl01y (19 57). If you don't accept the language of deceit. At the end of a century that believed in the future. As he describes the ancient notion of cynicism. an artistic gravestone to the modern illusion of progressive Enlightenment. fully aware that the law . like Paul Tillich and Peter Sloterdijk. Andre G lucksmann. cynicism is not diffuse but striking. It began with Dax: the upright colonel played by Kirk Douglas. In Critique of Cynical Reason. Dax believes in eth ical righteousness.e Upris•ng: On Poetry ana Fi11anc€: distinguish righ t from wrong. Eyes Wide Shut. a happily married couple (Fridolin and Albertine in Arthur Schnitzler's novel Dream Story [ 1926]. "Cool" is a keyword in contemporary cynicism .relation between language and reality. Both are rhetorical forms and ethical stances that require the suspension of the relation between reality and lan guage. he must bend to evil if he wants to survive. but he knows that nothing can be done to stop and defeat evil. the modern zynicists are the conformist majority. To Sloterdijk. suggests that the only alternative to cynicism is passion. is closely related to irony. Cynicism. but that's wrong. as it is commonly conceived. Modern zynismus can be understood by recalling Stanley Kubrick's 1999 film. Bill and Alice. cynicism doesn't denote an exceptional social character: it is the typical state of mind. "It violates normal usage to describe cynicism as a universal and diffuse phenomenon. 4) And this is the most important difference between kynismus and zynismus: while D iogenes and his fellow kynicists were ascetic individualists rejecting the acquiescence to the law of the powerful. particularly in the ethical sphere. T he real alternative to cynicism is not passion. Some German philosophers." (Sioterdijk 1988. Despite moral unhappiness. the only cool behavior. therefore. which inspired Kubrick's screenplay) are expressions of an awareness that truth can never be spoken because the social game is based on the power of lies. in his 198 1 book Cynicism and Passion. This is where Kubrick's survey of the twentieth century arrives. not universal but peripheral and highly individual.

of the powerful is bad, but bending to it because
there's nothing else to do. Unlike the ancient
cynism, modern zynismus is not disruptive. It is
an internalization of the impotence of truth. As
Sloterdijk writes:
... [T]his is the essential point in modern cynicism, the ability of its bearers to work, in spite of
anything that might happen, and especially, after
anything that might happen .. . cynics are not
dumb, and every now and then they certainly see
the nothingness to which everything leads. Their
psychic (seelish) apparatus has become elastic
enough to incorporate as a survival factor a permanent doubt about their own activities. They
know what they are doing, but they do it
because, in the short run, the force of circumstances and the instinct for self-preservation are
speaking the same lan guage; and they are telling
them that it has to be so. (Sioterdijk 1988, 5)

Contemporary mass cynicism can be linked to two
different sources: the failure of twentieth-century
utopian ideologies, and the perception that the
exploitation of labor, competition, and war are
inevitable and irreversible. Mass cynicism results
from the dissolution of social solidarity. Globalization and the systemic precariousness of the labor
market resulting from neoliberal deregulation have

162 I Tile Upns•ng: On Poetry and F1nance

imposed competition as the inescapable, generalized
mode of relation among social actors. Workers, once
linked by a sense of social solidarity and common
political hope, are now forced to think in cynical
terms: survival of the fittest.
Within the '68 movement, different cultures
and political tendencies coexisted. Some dreamed
of the historical Aujhebung: the institution of a
proletarian dictatorship, who would seize power in
their own hands. Like Hegelians, the doctrinaire
M arxists dreamed of a triumph of reason in which
the good guys were destined to win. To remain
with the proletariat was to be on the winning side
of history. When the wind turned and the workers'
movement was defeated, neoliberalism provided
an ideology for a new wave of capitalist aggressivity.
Those who wished to remain on the winning side
of history decided to stay with the winners because
all that is real is rational, in the end! In their dialectical scheme, whoever wins is right, and whoever is
right is destined to win.
The majority '68-era activists were not orthodox dialecticians and did not expect any
Aujhebung. We never believed in the end of historical complexity and the final establishment of
the perfect form of communism. This sounded
false to students and yo ung workers, who were
seeking autonomy in the present, not communism
in the future.

Poetry and F,nance I 163

Today's neoliberal conformists are the perverted
heirs of'68. Those who came to power after '89 in
Russia, the US, and Europe are not as free from
ideology as they pretend. Their ideology is a
dogmatic faith in the unquestionability of the
economy. The economy has taken the place of the
all-encompassing Hegelian Dialectic of Reason.
Bending to the dominant power, neoliberals accept
(economic) necessity. The only difficulty is that no
one knows which trends will achieve domi nance in
the complicated becoming of future events.
Consequently, cynicism-despite its apparent
inevitability- is weak, as a position. No one
knows what will happen next. Unpredictable
events cannot be reduced to logical necessity.
Irony and Zynismus
Sloterdijk is not alone in his conflation of mass
cynicism and irony. As h e writes in Critique:
"From the very bottom, from the declassed urban
intelligentsia, and from the very top, from the
summits of statesmanly consciousness, signals
penetrate serious thinking, signals that provide
evidence of a radical, ironic treatment (Ironizimmg)
of ethics and of social conventions, as if universal
laws existed only for the stupid, while the fatally
clever smile plays on the lips of those in the know."
(Siorerdijk 1988, 4)

164 I Tne Upnsu1g: On Pvetry e.nd Ftnar.ce

. Of course irony-like sarcasm, its more aggresSive form-can be an expression of cynicism. But
irony and cynicism should not be conflated. Irony
can be a linguistic tool for rationalizing cynical
behavior. Both irony and cynicism imply a dissociation of language and behavior from consciousness:
what you say is not what you think. But this dissociation takes different turns in irony and cynicism.
Vladimir Jankelevitch defines cynicism in the
following way in his book Irony: "(C]ynicism is
often deceived moralism, and an extreme form of
irony .. . " Gankelevitch 1936, 23) Cynicism, he
implies, is a learned form of irony, used for the
pleasure of shocking the philistines.
Cynicism is the philosophy of exaggeration
(surenchere): as Jankelevitch writes, "irony after
Socrates tends to be exaggeration of moral radicalism .. . " Cynicism is deceived moralism, a judgm ent of behavior that depends on a fixed system
of (moral) values. Dialectical materialism, the
philosophy of the past century, implied a form of
moralism: anything (progress, socialism, etc.) that
moves in the direction of history is good, whatever
opposes the movement of history is bad. Post-'68
cynicism results from a painful awakening. Since
the truth has not been fulfilled, we'll align ourselves with the untruth. And this is where irony
and cynicism differ. Ironic discourse never presupposes the existence of a truth that will be fulfilled

Poetry and Ftnance / 165

or realized. Irony implies the infinite process of
interpretation, whereas cynicism results from a
(lost) faith. The cynic has lost his or her faith; the
ironist never had a faith to begin. In Jankelevitch's
words: "[I]rony is never disenchanted for the good
reason that irony has refused to be enchanted ."
(Jankelevitch 1936, 24)
And yet, irony and cynicism both start with a
suspension of disbelief in both the moral content of
truth, and morality's true content. Both cynics and
ironists understand that the True and the Good do
not exist in God's mind or in History, and that
human behavior isn't based upon respect for any
law. In Masochism: Coldness and Cruelty, Deleuze
says this of irony and the law: "Irony is still in the
process or movement which bypasses the law as a
merely secondary power and aims at transcending it
toward a higher principle." (Deleuze 1989, 86)
Neither irony nor cynicism believe in the true
foundation of law. But the cynical person bends
to the law while mocking its false and pretentious values, while the ironic person escapes the
law altogether, creating a linguistic space where
law has no effectiveness. The cynic wants to be on
the side of power, even though he doesn't believe in
its righteousness. T he ironist simply refuses the
game, recreating the world on the basis of language
that is incongruent with reality. Whereas mass
cynicism (zynismus) has to do with aggression, both

166 / The Upris1ng: On P0Bt1y and F1nance

suffered and inflicted, irony is based upon sympathy.
While cynical behavior pivots upon a false relation
with interlocutors, irony involves a shared suspension of reality. The use of irony implies a shared
sense of assumptions and implications between
oneself and one's listeners. Irony cannot be conflated
with lying. As Jankelevitch writes:
Lying is a state of war, and irony is a state of
peace. T he liar is not in agreement with the
cheated. The gullible consciousness is late in relation with the lying consciousness, which is trying to
maintain its advantage. Irony, instead, is crediting
the interlocutor of sagacity and treats him/her as
a true parrner of true d ialogue. Irony incites
intellection, and is calling a fraternal echo of
understanding. Oankelevitch 1936, 24)

The conflation between power and the incessant
movement of historical events toward the good
that defined Marxist thought was sundered. Here
the fork between irony and cynicism opens.
Irony suspends the semantic value of the signifier to freely choose among a thousand possible
interpretations. Ironic interpretations of events
presuppose a common understanding between
speakers and listeners; a sympathy among those
who, engaged in the iron ic act, arrive at a common
autonomy fro m the dictatorship of the signified.

Poetry and Finance I 167




inescapable realicy of power, particularly the power
of the economy.

In the '70s, while reading Deleuze and Guattari,
the consciousness of the autonomous movement
discovered that reality has no meaning: the meaning
of reality has to be created by the movement itself.
So the autonomous movement broke free of the
idea that the ethical horizon is marked by historical
necessity, and opened its mind to the ironic mood,
which means singularization of ethical responsibility
and political choice. In this (postdialectical) space of
moral indetermination, both linguistic enunciation
and political action are devoid of any ontological
The will of power and research of the good,
which were linked in the framework of historical
ideology, are now diverging. Here the fork of irony
and cynicism opens.
Irony suspends the semantic value of the signifier and chooses freely among a thousand possible
interpretations. The ironic interpretation implies and
presupposes a common ground of understanding
among the interlocutors, a sympathy among those
who are involved in the ironic act, and a common
autonomy from the dictatorship of the signified.
Cynicism starts from the same suspension, but
is a slavish modulation of irony: irony at the service
of power. While irony does not postulate the
existence of any reality, cynicism postulates the

Irony is an opening of a game of infinite possibilities; cynicism is a dissociation of ethics and
possibilicy. The cynical mood starts from the idea
that ethical action has no possibilicy of succeeding.
The ironist sleeps happily because nothing can
awake her from her dreams. The cynicist sleeps a
light sleep, he dreams nightmares, and he gets up
as soon as power calls him.

168 1 The Uprising: On Pcetry and Finance

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